Memorial Day brings extra pain at Illinois gas pumps

Memorial Day brings extra pain at Illinois gas pumps

Memorial Day weekend means millions will hit the road, but Illinoisans should try and fill up across states lines to avoid some of the nation’s highest gas taxes.

AAA’s travel forecast estimates 42.3 million people will hit the road for Memorial Day weekend, 7% more than in 2022.

Motorists traveling this weekend should keep an eye on gas price signs, particularly the drop once you leave Illinois.

The average price of gas in Illinois is $3.98 – 41 cents higher than the national average of $3.57 as of May 25. Illinois is eighth nationally and first in the Midwest for most expensive gas.

Gas prices are boosted by the fifth-highest motor fuel excise tax in the nation. That doesn’t include Illinois’ added prepaid sales tax of 24 cents per gallon.

And Illinois is scheduled for another gas tax hike come July 1. As part of Gov. J.B Pritzker’s $45 billion capital plan, the gas tax doubled to 38 from 19 cents a gallon in 2019 and automatically increases every year. The Illinois Department of Revenue has yet to announce the rate increase for July 2023.

But Illinoisans already had a gas tax hike this year on Jan. 1 because Pritzker delayed the 2022 hike until the start of 2023, after his re-election.

If you have enough in the tank to make it across state lines, filling up outside of Illinois will spare you some extra cash for the holiday weekend.

Even if you’re driving within Illinois, Cook County and the surrounding “collar” counties have much higher gas prices compared to the rest of the state. Chicago’s city average was $4.47 on May 25.

Avoiding high gas taxes also sends a message to state politicians that you object to them squeezing cash from your car.

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