SAN FRANCISCO: With crude oil costs in free fall due to worries about oversupply, the biggest beneficiaries have been consumers shelling out far less for gasoline than they were just six months ago. US states are mulling a tax on gas, as oil prices crater, New York, California and Indiana lead with taxes making up 22% of the cost of a gallon in each state.
However, consumers shouldn’t get too comfortable with lower prices at the pump. The amazing decline in gasoline prices has politicians eyeing state motor fuel tax increases as a way to shore up budgets and fund much-needed repairs to crumbling infrastructure like roads, bridges and tunnels. State and federal taxes made up 20% or more of the cost of a gallon of gas in 10 states, as of Monday, based on data from the AAA and the American Petroleum Institute. That represents a rising share, given oil’s spectacular fall.The cheaper gas has emboldened government officials to consider jacking up gas taxes. The Federal excise tax, which hasn’t changed in nearly two decades, is 18.4 cents a gallon. Combined state excise and other taxes vary from a low of 12.4 cents a gallon in Alaska, to a high of 50.025 cents a gallon in New York, based on recent API data. The attached chart of U.S. gasoline taxes illustrates.Five states charge at least 40 cents a gallon: New York, California, Hawaii, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.Nine states charge less than 20 cents a gallon, led by Alaska, 12.4 cents; New Jersey, 14.5 cents, and South Carolina, 16.75 cents, according to API data. Even Mississippi and Texas charge more.