According to data updated in January 2020 by the American Petroleum Institute, motorists in these states are paying the highest average total gas taxes: federal, state and local. We count down to the most expensive state.
Average tax: 51.40 cents per gallon
Idaho raised its state gasoline tax by 7 cents a gallon in 2015, and at that time vehicle registration fees also were increased for motorists in the Gem State. (That is Idaho's official nickname. What, you were expecting the Spuds State?)
The state's highways also get some funding from sales taxes on car and tire sales and related purchases, but some lawmakers say more money is needed. They're proposing that additional sales tax revenue be used, to expand roads and fight congestion.
A nonprofit transportation research group called Trip says nearly a quarter of Idaho's urban interstate highways are jammed during rush hours, and more than a third (38%) of the state's major roads are in poor or just so-so condition.
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Average tax: 52.18 cents per gallon
Nevada drivers may face some of the highest fuel taxes in the nation, but the state has been on something of a losing streak — like a slots player having a bad day in Vegas.
The average amount of gas tax revenue collected from each Nevada motorist has been in decline, because vehicles are becoming more fuel efficient and electric cars are becoming more popular, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
State legislators have been looking at whether to introduce a tax at electric vehicle charging stations, or whether to tax Nevadans for each mile they drive instead of each gallon they pump.
Average tax: 52.87 cents per gallon
Georgia's gasoline tax has been higher since the summer of 2015, when a 6.7-cent increase took effect — the first hike in the state's gasoline tax since 1971.
The law allowed for further increases to compensate for improvements in the fuel economy of cars, so the state wouldn't lose any money as vehicles became more fuel-efficient and drivers used less gas. In 2016, the state's gas tax was 26 cents per gallon; in 2020, it's 27.9 cents.
17. Rhode Island
Average tax: 53.40 cents per gallon
Rhode Islanders pay just slightly less than the U.S. average for fuel taxes, which is 54.53 cents a gallon. Lawmakers have been trying to hold Rhode Island's relatively high state gas tax steady, though it went up a penny in 2019 from 33 cents a gallon to 34 cents.
Nearly 80% of the state’s transportation budget comes from federal funding, and the officials are hoping the federal gas tax will go up to provide more money to repair the 79% of Rhode Island roads that are said to need attention.
In the meantime, motorists in the Ocean State can expect to spend an average of $823 a year on extra vehicle repairs and operating costs because of the deteriorating roads, according to Trip.
16. West Virginia
Average tax: 54.10 cents per gallon
West Virginia drivers are still smarting from some state tax increases that took effect in 2017. The gas tax went up by a fairly tame 3.5 cents a gallon — but other driving-related taxes and fees rose at the same time.
Notable changes included the vehicle registration fee increasing by $21.50, to $51.50, and the state's sales tax for car buyers rising from 5% to 6%.
It's enough to make a person want to find a job closer to home to reduce the cost of commuting. Taken together, these hikes were expected to pump $130 million a year into the State Road Fund.
15. North Carolina
Average tax: 54.75 cents per gallon
Before a 2015 law kicked in, North Carolina's higher-than-average gasoline tax was set according to a formula that moved the rate up or down every six months in step with wholesale fuel prices.
The law cut the gas tax and imposed a new calculation that's based on North Carolina's population growth and — to a lesser extent — on national increases in energy prices. The tax has been ticking upward as the state's population numbers continue to rise.
Drivers in North Carolina and across the U.S. have a good way to fight back against pain at the pump: Find a good cash-back credit card and essentially save money every time you fill your tank.
Average tax: 55.10 cents per gallon
Maryland moved into the top 15 in July 2018, when its state gas tax was hiked by 1.5 cents a gallon. Another 1.4-cent increase came in July 2019.
The tax has been rising under a 2013 law that syncs up the state fuel tax with inflation.
Gov. Larry Hogan wants to widen congested highways, including Maryland's portion of the Capital Beltway around Washington, D.C. Critics have said the state can't afford the $9 billion cost, even as the gas tax goes higher and higher, so Hogan has proposed letting private companies build and operate toll lanes.
Average tax: 55.22 cents per gallon
Oregon's state gas tax went up 4 cents at the start of 2018, and by another 2 cents on New Year's Day 2020. The rising tax is lumped on top of the already high cost of gasoline in the Beaver State.
"The most expensive markets are the regions that pay more for crude (West Coast and some Rocky Mountain areas, as well as the Northeast)," says Tom Kloza, head of global energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service.
The state gas tax is currently 36 cents and is rising in stages to 40 cents by 2024. The increases were included in a hefty $5.3 billion package of taxes and fees passed in 2017 to fund road, bridge and transit projects.
Average tax: 56.91 cents per gallon
An eye-popping increase in gasoline prices took effect throughout Ohio early on the morning of July 1, 2019, when the state's gas tax was bumped up by 10.5 cents a gallon.
"It was, frankly, something that had to be done if we are going to move Ohio forward," said Gov. Mike DeWine, who had wanted an even higher 18-cent tax hike.
The tax was raised as part of a transportation budget expected to give Ohio's coffers an $865 million infusion to remedy ailing roads and bridges. In light of the 10.5-cent increase, a typical Buckeye State motorist is now paying an extra $63 a year at the gas pump, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Average tax: 58.53 cents per gallon
Connecticut's state fuel tax hasn't been raised since 2013, but gas taxes in what's called both the Constitution State and the Nutmeg State are still higher than average.
Even so, the taxes don't come close to covering the cost of local road repairs. In January 2018, the governor announced that 400 projects would be delayed indefinitely because the state's transportation fund did not have enough money to pay for them.
But the state's lawmakers have been considering whether to lower the state's gasoline tax and instead slap new tolls on drivers using Connecticut's highways.
10. New Jersey
Average tax: 59.80 cents per gallon
In New Jersey — the only state where it's a crime to pump your own gas — motorists also have had to deal with rapidly rising gasoline taxes in recent years.
The state's fuel tax jumped by 4.3 cents per gallon in the fall of 2018, just two years after the tax was hiked by a steep 23 cents to help pay for work on roads, bridges and other transportation projects.
But since then, officials have decided to hold the gas tax in place. Before 2016, motorists in the Garden State enjoyed some of the nation's lowest fuel taxes.
Average tax: 60.38 cents per gallon
Michigan has been raising its state gas tax to deal with deplorable road conditions caused by new potholes opening up every spring.
Yet despite Michigan's already-high fuel tax, 44% of the state's roads are in poor or mediocre condition, and 11% of bridges have major problems, according to Trip.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed nearly tripling the state's portion of the gas taxes motorists pay over three years, to 45 cents a gallon, but many lawmakers balked. She now wants to borrow $3.5 billion to fix the state's rotting roads.
Average tax: 60.69 cents per gallon
Florida doesn't have a state income tax, but the money to operate the state's programs obviously has to come from somewhere. The Sunshine State has one of the nation's highest gasoline taxes.
Ongoing road work has had some Florida counties considering whether to raise local gas taxes even higher, though no increases have been enacted.
But thanks to all of the repair projects — and the absence of harsh winters — TRIP in recent years rated Florida the state with the smallest percentage of bad roads in the country: only 7%.
7. New York
Average tax: 63.43 cents per gallon
About 60% of New York’s major roads and 6,000 bridges have been judged to need fixing via a trust fund that draws its money from the state's fuel tax.
But the taxes don’t even begin to address ongoing problems with worn-out and clogged roads in the state, particulary New York City. So, state officials have approved a plan to charge "congestion tolls" for cars entering the busiest parts of Manhattan.
The plan still needs an OK from the feds. But all things considered, it doesn’t look like the price of driving in New York will be going down anytime soon, meaning car owners will have to look for the lowest-cost car insurance and use other money-saving strategies.
Average tax: 65.02 cents per gallon
Indiana's gas tax was raised by a stiff 10 cents a gallon in July 2017, then went up by another penny a year later, and by a half-cent in July 2019.
Regular increases are now determined by a formula that was part of a 20-year road-funding plan passed by state lawmakers in the spring of 2017. Hoosiers also started paying a new $15 licensing fee, a $150 fee for electric vehicles and a $50 fee for hybrids.
The revenue is aimed at helping the state finish building Interstate 69 and handle congestion around Indiana's major urban centers.
Average tax: 66.77 cents per gallon
Hawaii’s island roads rank 47th in the nation for performance and maintenance, according to a 2019 analysis by the Reason Foundation.
But fixing them is complex and expensive, and Hawaiians already contend with the highest cost of living in the country.
In 2017, Hawaii’s Big Island put into motion its first fuel tax hike in 30 years, a 23-cent hike to be spread out over three years. More recently, the Hawaii legislature has considered hiking the state gas tax by 6 cents, to put more money into the state's highway fund.
Average tax: 67.80 cents per gallon
In 2015, a report declared that 39% of Washington roads were in bad shape. The state lacked funds to fix them, so lawmakers raised the gas tax by 11.9 cents.
The tax increase is funding a 16-year program called Connecting Washington, meant to improve the Evergreen State's transportation infrastructure in multiple ways.
Major investments include $9.4 billion for state highways and local roads; $1.4 billion for maintenance, operations and preservation; $602 million for ferries and terminals — and even $300 million to remove barriers so salmon and other fish will have an easier time getting around.
Average tax: 72.05 cents per gallon
Commuters in the Chicago area and people taking long drives through the Prairie State got used to fairly low gas prices — because the state's fuel tax had held at 19 cents since way back in 1990.
But that changed on July 1, 2019, when the tax was doubled to 38 cents. Vehicle registration fees and some other taxes were hiked, too, to raise $45 billion to rebuild Illinois' crumbling highways, bridges and other infrastructure.
Under the law, fuel tax increases will come more quickly now, because they'll be tied to inflation. The law also makes it easier for counties and cities to raise local fuel taxes.
Average tax: 77.10 cents per gallon
For a couple of years, motorists in Pennsylvania paid the highest gas taxes in the nation following a steep increase in the state fuel tax that took effect in 2018. The tax skyrocketed from 32.3 cents a gallon to 58.7 cents.
Pennsylvania drivers living near its borders have been known to cross the state line to avoid the tax and fill up for less.
Regular toll increases on the Pennsylvania Turnpike — the state's transportation backbone — contribute to the incredibly high cost of driving in the Keystone State. The tolls jumped 6% at the start of 2020.
Average tax: 79 cents per gallon
California now pays the highest gasoline taxes in America, the American Petroleum Institute says.
A 2017 law raised the state's gas tax by a steep 12 cents a gallon to fix or replace dozens of bridges and fund other desperately needed road work in the state known for its jam-packed freeways. California's gas tax was hiked again, by another 5.6 cents a gallon, in the summer of 2019.
A further increase is expected to take effect on July 1, 2020. Motorists feel even more of a sting at gas pumps in the Golden State because California gasoline is expensive to produce, due to the state's high emission standards.
Now that you've seen which states are worst for gas taxes, are you curious which are easiest on drivers' wallets? Keep reading as we count down the 20 states with the lowest total gasoline taxes.
Average tax: 45.61 cents per gallon
Since 1992, Alabama residents enjoyed a long break from gas tax hikes. But that came to an end on Sept. 1, 2019, when the state's fuel tax was raised 6 cents to 24 cents per gallon of gasoline.
The tax is scheduled to rise by another 2 cents in October 2020 and by an additional 2 cents a year later. Together, the trio of tax hikes are expected to generate $320 annually for road and bridge projects.
Even with the increases, Alabama still has much lower gas taxes than other states, which contributes to gas prices that are typically among the cheapest in the U.S.
Average tax: 44.94 cents per gallon
Massachusetts officials have been trying since 2012 to raise the state's portion of the gas taxes motorists pay, but voters keep slamming the car door on every proposal.
As a result, the state has a fairly low fuel tax, leaving legislators to look for new ways to fund desperately needed improvement to the Bay State's crumbing infrastructure.
One idea is to impose a tax on motorists based on the miles they drive, measuring that using those onboard gadgets the car insurance companies use. Meanwhile, a regional effort to fight fuel emissions could raise pump prices in Massachusetts by 17 cents.
Average tax: 44.40 cents per gallon
Kentucky gas taxes remain fairly low, because recent attempts to boost the state's fuel tax have gone nowhere.
Lawmakers have been warning that the state’s road management fund is running out of money. They say the Bluegrass State needs more tax revenue to address its $1 billion worth of outstanding road and bridge repairs.
But a measure that would have increased Kentucky's gas tax by 10 cents failed to come to a vote during the Kentucky General Assembly's 2019 session. The same thing had happened in 2018.
Average tax: 43.20 cents per gallon
Motorists in Arkansas are still paying lower fuel taxes than most U.S. drivers, even after the state's first gas tax increase in 20 years.
The tax went up by 3 cents a gallon in the fall of 2020 so the state could afford to give more attention to its notoriously neglected transportation system.
The most recent report from the American Society of Civil Engineers, or ASCE, gave Arkansas infrastructure a grade of D-plus, because the group said 24% of public roads are in poor condition.
Average tax: 42.43 cents per gallon
The Kansas state fuel tax hasn't budged in over 15 years, which is a reason the Sunflower State tends to have some of the lowest gas prices in the U.S.
But given local politicians’ history of siphoning off highway construction money for other projects, and with the state transportation budget coming up short, more funding has to come from somewhere.
So far officials can’t get a gas tax hike through the state legislature. A 5-cents-a-gallon increase got kicked around in 2018 but didn't gain traction.
Average tax: 42.40 cents per gallon
Wyoming has been a trendsetter when it comes to raising gas taxes.
When it hiked its fuel tax by 10 cents a gallon in 2013, Wyoming was the first state to enact an increase in more than three and a half years, according to the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
The state's gas tax hasn't been raised since that time. A proposal calling for regular increases tied to inflation fizzled in 2019.
14. New Hampshire
Average tax: 42.23 cents per gallon
Residents of the Granite State have been paying a relatively low state tax on fuel since the last 4.2-cents-a-gallon increase in 2014.
The proceeds are being used to make payments on a $200 million federal loan that will cover a range of road and bridge projects over the next 16 years.
The work is badly needed: ASCE has given New Hampshire's infrastructure a grade of C-minus while noting that 9% of the state's roads were in poor condition and 12.2% of bridges were structurally deficient.
13. North Dakota
Average tax: 41.40 cents per gallon
North Dakota's fuel tax is below the national average, and motorists want it to stay that way.
Since 2017, policymakers have been discussing whether to raise the gas tax, just like their counterparts in so many other states.
The idea keeps meeting resistance, even though the state's major industries — energy, agriculture and manufacturing — point out that they depend on having safe, well-kept roads to do business.
Average tax: 41.40 cents per gallon
Gas taxes may be fairly low in Delaware, but the state has other ways of squeezing money out of motorists.
There's a $4 toll for motorists passing through the state on Interstate 95, and crossing into Delaware from New Jersey on the Delaware Memorial Bridge also costs $4.
Meanwhile, state officials are talking about scrapping the state's gas tax altogether and instead taxing motorists on the amount of driving they do.
11. South Carolina
Average tax: 41.15 cents per gallon
South Carolina also has tended to have some of the lowest gas prices in the country, thanks to its relatively low state gas tax. But there are infrastructure issues for miles, so the tax has been going up.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, 10.3% of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient, and 178 dams are "highly hazardous."
The state gas tax is set to keep climbing by 2 cents a year until 2022. The latest increase came on July 1, 2019.
Average tax: 40.40 cents per gallon
Colorado's share of the gas taxes drivers pay has been 22 cents per gallon since the early 1990s.
But the state Department of Transportation says it needs another $1 billion a year to fund local road-building projects.
KUSA-TV has calculated that providing that money would require Colorado to raise its gas tax by 156% to 56.9 cents per gallon — which would make it the highest state fuel tax in the nation.
Average tax: 40.35 cents per gallon
Back in 2013, Virginia decided to switch from a steady per-gallon gas tax to a more complicated percentage tax based on the statewide average wholesale price for a gallon of gasoline.
As gas prices rise, the state’s tax follows.
But despite this set-up, Virginians can continue to expect to pay some of the nation's lowest taxes at the pump. If you live in a state with a low gas tax and you don't have an emergency fund, why not? It's a smart way to bank some of your savings.
Average tax: 38.41 cents per gallon
Louisiana drivers may be happy to pay less at the pump, but the state's low gas tax has come at a cost.
The backlog of road repairs is now so bad that a 15-mile drive from the outer edge of Baton Rouge to the center of town can take an hour and a half.
A state House bill that sought to raise the state gas tax by 17 cents to collect $510 million a year to fix roads and bridges died in early 2018. As of now, legislative bickering means there's no solution in sight.
6. (tie) Oklahoma
Average tax: 38.40 cents per gallon
Oklahoma raised its state gasoline tax in 2018 — for the first time in almost 30 years.
The gas tax went up 3 cents a gallon, the tax on diesel was hiked by by 6 cents, and a $1-a-pack tax increase was slapped on cigarettes.
Taxes were pushed higher after the state's teachers went on strike over their low pay and lack of raises. Also, the ASCE found that 26% of local roads in Oklahoma were in poor condition.
6. (tie) Texas
Average tax: 38.40 cents per gallon
Texans haven’t seen a gas tax hike since the 1990s, and they’d like to keep it that way.
Meantime, Texas' eroding roads are getting very little investment, while the cost of construction continues to climb.
The state's 20-cent gas tax doesn’t just fund road repairs: 15 cents goes to a highway fund that must cover road repairs and expansion, as well as state employee raises and benefits, and the other 5 cents supports schools.
Average tax: 37.40 cents per gallon
Unlike other states looking at imminent tax hikes, Arizona’s gas tax might stay low a bit longer.
ASCE gave Arizona roads and bridges a grade of C in 2015, while praising a decade of progressive road projects that brought in more residents, businesses and money.
But with the state’s exploding population expected to add another 3.3 million people by 2035, highways and transit will need more investment — and soon.
4. New Mexico
Average tax: 37.28 cents per gallon
Although New Mexico gas taxes are the fourth lowest in the country, the state has an ongoing budget crisis, and some lawmakers say there's only one good solution: a desperately needed 10-cents-per-gallon tax hike.
A bill would do that in 2020 and then tack on an additional 5 cents every year after that.
"We all know that our roads are completely destroyed; that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” said Republican State Representative Jason Harper, according to KRQE.
Average tax: 37.19 cents per gallon
While other states' portion of gas taxes can be as high as around 60 cents a gallon, Mississippi's is just 18.4 cents — matching the federal share.
But this might be too good to last: Officials are suggesting raising the state fuel tax by 3 cents every year for the next four years and dropping a $300 yearly fee on electric car drivers and $150 a year on hybrid owners.
You have to pay for those highways somehow.
Average tax: 35.82 cents per gallon
Missourians had a chance to raise the state's low gasoline tax, but they said no.
Motorists in the Show Me State pay only 17 cents of state tax per gallon. In November 2018, voters rejected a phased-in tax hike that had the support of Republican Gov. Mike Parson.
The ballot proposal would have increased the tax to 27 cents by 2022, to raise $293 million for roads, bridges and the State Highway Patrol. Parson said the money was badly needed.
Average tax: 32.75 cents per gallon
Alaskans pay America's lowest fuel taxes — nearly 20 cents below the national average and almost 45 cents per gallon less than motorists pay in the most expensive state, Pennsylvania.
Alaska’s state fuel tax has been just 8 cents per gallon since 1970.
But don't imagine for a moment that the state's gas pumps are pain-free. In fact, Alaska's fuel prices tend to be among the highest in the U.S. because of the stiff cost of transporting refined gasoline to the remote state.
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