The days of cheap New Jersey gas could soon be gone.
The state assembly passed proposed legislation Tuesday that would raise the New Jersey gas tax by 23 cents per gallon to pay for transportation and infrastructure improvements.
If the state senate approves the bill Thursday, the gas tax could increase by Friday, according to the Wall Street Journal. New Jersey’s gas tax could go from one of the lowest in the country to one of the highest.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie has praised the bill.
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The good news? Gas is pretty cheap these days — as low as $2.02 a gallon in the Philadelphia area, according to one website.
The not-quite-as-thrilling news? The gas isn’t quite as cheap as it could be: Pennsylvania now has the highest gas taxes in the country.
“Pennsylvania has passed New York and California by earning the dubious distinction of having the highest gasoline taxes in the nation, ” Greg Laskoski writes at GasBuddy.com. “Combined with the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon, Pennsylvania’s state tax of 50.5 cpg. brings the combined tax to 68.9 cents per gallon. Californians pay 63.7 cents per gal., New Yorkers pay 63.4 cents per gal., according to the American Petroleum Institute.”
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Gas prices plummeted in 2014, but they’ve already gone up in Pennsylvania in the new year.
That’s due to a rise in the gas tax that added almost 10 cents per gallon in Pennsylvania in 2015.
In 2013, the legislature passed Act 89, which overhauled transportation funding. Before this year, the tax was capped — only the first $1.25 of gasoline prices per gallon was taxed. Now, the full price of gasoline at the pump is taxed.
This is meant as a way to tax the gas giants, but it’s going to hit drivers at the pump instead. “I can’t identify any example in any state in the United States where a tax on the wholesaler was not passed on… ultimately to the consumer,” Gasbuddy.com’s Gregg Laskoski told the York Dispatch.
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Driving is about to get more expensive, the Post-Gazette reports:
The state’s tax on gasoline wholesalers will go up by 9.8 cents per gallon on Thursday, as mandated by Act 89, the transportation funding law the Legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett enacted last year. Three days after that, a 5 percent toll increase will take effect on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
How much, if any, of the gas tax increase will be reflected in pump prices is difficult to discern, but if dealers pass along the entire amount, it would cost a motorist who drives 12,000 miles in a 24 mpg vehicle an extra $49.
PennLive says cheap gas will still be relatively cheap:
But with gas prices averaging $2.48 a gallon on Sunday according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 241 gas outlets in Harrisburg, even if that full increase is passed along to consumers it would still keep the per-gallon price well below the $3 or higher price that motorists had paid in recent months.
Why the hikes? That’s the cost of having nice roads:
All of these increases are a result of Act 89 of 2013, the transportation funding law, that state Department of Transportation officials say is paying for the uptick in road and bridge work seen throughout the region.
“We saw at least 1,600 miles of roadway improvements just this year because of Act 89,” said PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt. “People are going to see the amount of work continue to increase. These are projects that have been on the backburner for years and they’ll continue to see these improvements in 2015 and beyond.”
AP Photo | Courtesy of Wawa Inc.
Fifty years ago today, the first Wawa opened at the corner of MacDade Blvd. and Swarthmore Ave. in Folsom, Pennsylvania. Today, you can get free coffee at any of Wawa’s locations. (Here’s a Wawa store locator.) To celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, here are 50 things about the Philadelphia area’s favorite convenience store.
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