July 2, 2019

Illinois drivers hit with higher gas prices than their neighbors, the national average

CHICAGO (July 2, 2019) – Illinois drivers will pay more at the pump than any of their Midwestern neighbors as a record 41 million people are expected to hit the road this Independence Day.

Illinois gas taxes skyrocketed to the third highest in the nation effective yesterday, following lawmakers’ decision to double the state motor fuel tax from 19 to 38 cents. While gas prices are down nationwide by 23 cents compared to last year, Illinoisans will pay 7 cents more per gallon.

Better prices across state lines

  • Indiana: Chicago-area drivers could save nearly 30 cents per gallon by buying gas across the border in Gary, Ind.
  • Missouri: Drivers near the Illinois-Missouri border could save 47 cents per gallon by filling up in Cape Girardeau rather than Carbondale. Meanwhile, drivers in the Metro East region could choose to pump gas over the river, saving 9 cents a gallon.
  • Iowa and Wisconsin: Drivers in these states are expected to pay about the same as their Illinois neighbors at the border.

Driver details

  • AAA predicts nearly 2.4 million Illinoisans will drive 50 miles or more from home this holiday weekend.
  • The average Illinoisan drives 12,921 miles per year, and the average vehicle nationwide consumes one gallon of gasoline every 24.7 miles. That means Illinoisans will each pay $100 more under the 38-cents-per-gallon state gas tax in its first year.
  • Statewide, Illinoisans are paying an average price of $2.91 per gallon.

Statement from Adam Schuster, director of budget and tax research for the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute:

“Illinoisans may celebrate their freedom this Fourth of July by choosing to fuel up across state lines. Illinois politicians claimed tax hikes are the only way to invest in infrastructure, but they ignored the fact that Illinoisans already pay one of the nation’s highest combined total gas tax burdens.

“The state could have invested an additional $10 billion in existing revenue to repair our roads without tax hikes. They chose to gouge Illinois drivers instead. It’s time lawmakers stop treating taxpayers like a bottomless piggybank and look to solve our problems with structural reforms.”

To learn more about the impacts of Illinois’ doubled gas tax and holiday travel, visit illin.is/gastax.

For bookings or interviews, contact media@illinoispolicy.org or (312) 607-4977.