State lawmakers debate delaying New Year’s Day gas tax hike

State lawmakers debate delaying New Year’s Day gas tax hike

A bill in Springfield proposes delaying the Jan. 1 state gas tax hike. If it fails, drivers will see two gas tax hikes in 2023, expected to take the tax to over 45 cents a gallon.

State lawmakers are debating a bill to push back the New Year’s Day gas tax hike.

Instead of the scheduled gas tax hikes on Jan. 1 and July 1, 2023, House Bill 5829 pushes back the next inflation adjustment to July 1, 2023. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s election-year budget put off the July 2022 gas tax hike until after the election on Jan. 1.

Illinois’ average gallon of gas costs $3.94 as of Nov. 23, 33 cents higher than the national average of $3.61. Even though Illinois gas prices are down from a month ago, they’re still the highest in the Midwest and 10th highest nationwide, according to AAA.

Gas prices nationwide are going down, but gas taxes in Illinois aren’t going down anytime soon. Even without upcoming gas tax hikes, Illinoisans already pay the second-highest gas taxes in the nation behind only California.

Gas tax hikes disproportionally hurt lower-income residents, who give up a larger percentage of their paycheck to pay for gas.

In Pritzker’s first year as governor, he doubled the per-gallon tax from 19 cents to 38 cents, plus added automatic annual hikes.

Pritzker’s most recent budget also required gas stations to post 4-inch by 8-inch signs reminding motorists that Pritzker and lawmakers delayed the tax hike.

HB 5829 would also end that requirement for gas station owners, who unsuccessfully sued the state in the summer protesting the required signs.

If lawmakers are even a little serious about gas tax relief, they’ll have to pass the bill by the end of the veto session on Dec. 1. If they truly want to help, they will end the annual inflationary adjustments.

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!