For the last several years, gas prices have remained stubbornly high at $3 or more a gallon nationwide — and customers have felt the pinch.
Though prices remain high throughout the nation, they’ve mostly held steady since last year. The national average price per gallon decreased by $0.02 from this time last year, and now sits at $3.66 a gallon.
But Illinoisans consistently pay much more than the national average.
Chicagoans pay almost $0.80 more per gallon. Overall, Illinoisans pay $0.40 more per gallon than the national average.
Motorists in the Prairie State are now paying $4.06 per gallon, according to AAA.
And even though Chicago’s sales tax went down slightly, average gas prices in the city are now $4.42 per gallon. Last year, motorists were paying $4.29.
And it’s not gas prices that are to blame. One of the major reasons why Illinois’ prices are so high is because of the state’s additional gas sales tax burden.
Traditional gas taxes such as “motor fuel taxes” are a fixed amount per gallon. These taxes generally pay for road maintenance and other transportation expenses — and motorists in all states pay these taxes. Combined, the federal, state, county and Chicago motor fuel taxes total $0.48 per gallon.
But not only does Illinois have the nation’s fifth-highest state excise tax rates — it also is one of only seven states to apply an additional sales tax onto gas purchases.
These taxes don’t show up on your receipt — they’re hidden by being built into the price per gallon advertised along the roadways. Even worse, unlike the motor fuel taxes — which are a fixed amount per gallon — the sales taxes are set as percentage rates.
As the price of gas goes up in Illinois, so does the amount you pay in taxes.
These additional taxes add $0.33 per gallon.T
he state’s 6.25% sales tax adds $0.22 per gallon to the price of gasoline in Chicago. The county and city sales taxes add an additional $0.11 per gallon to the price.
And unlike most states, whose gas-tax dollars fund roads and transportation services, the revenue generated by state sales taxes goes to the state’s general fund. That means Illinois is pouring gas-tax dollars into various government spending, including pensions and human services.
Illinois needs to stop punishing customers at the pump. The first step is to end double taxation in the form of additional state and local sales taxes.
Here is an example of a gasoline receipt is taxes were transparent and not hidden: