Taxes nearly 25% of what Illinois drivers pay at the pump

Taxes nearly 25% of what Illinois drivers pay at the pump

Nearly 25% of what Illinoisans pay at the pump comes from taxes, including Gov. J.B Pritzker’s doubling of the state gas tax in 2019 to fund $45 billion in infrastructure and pork projects. Illinois’ gas taxes are the second-highest in the nation, behind only California.

As gas prices nationwide continue to rise, Illinoisans are forced to pay even more thanks to notoriously high gas taxes that rank No. 2 in the nation.

One big culprit is Gov. J.B Pritzker. He doubled the state gas tax in 2019 and allowed further increases in local gas taxes, adding $3.50 to every 15-gallon tank of gas, or $0.23 to every gallon for Chicago drivers.

Illinois’ average gas price has reached $4.53, over a quarter more than the national average of $4.25, according to AAA.

Gas prices in Chicago are even higher at $4.77, adding more pain to motorists. Raul Gonzalez said he’ll start looking at other ways to get to work if prices keep rising.

“I am noticing the change, like in my bank account, and I’m not saving as much money as I normally would,”Gonzalez said. “At $5 a gallon, I would start taking the bus, simply because that’s basically a trip here and back.”

Prices vary by station, and some are already approaching $5 a gallon. Patrick De Hann, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said new prices will be the longest-lasting in history.

“It’s a dire situation and won’t improve any time soon. The high prices are likely to stick around for not days or weeks, like they did in 2008, but months,” De Haan said.

To make matters worse, De Haan said companies such as Uber and Lyft will either have to raise the price for rides, or force drivers to spend more money on gas. It could force many rideshare drivers off the road.

In his first year in office, Pritzker doubled the state gas tax to support $45 billion in infrastructure spending, a plan packed with pork projects. He also signed annual automatic gas tax increases into law. Automatic increases ignore the potential for unexpected circumstances, such as the current soaring gas prices, while letting state lawmakers avoid voting for the unpopular increases.

Pritzker proposed delaying the upcoming automatic hike in the tax, but that temporary election-year ploy offers little real relief. Instead, Pritzker’s automatic gas tax increases should be repealed.

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