Special Report

States With the Highest (and Lowest) Gas Taxes

46. North Carolina
> Tax as pct. of gas price: 17.2% (5th highest)
> State fuel tax: 37.8 cents per gallon (6th highest)
> Gas price: $2.19 (19th highest)

North Carolina charges nearly 38 cents in taxes and fees per gallon of gasoline. The state also moved relatively quickly to hike the fixed portion of its gas tax by 1 cent by at the start of 2015. Yet, with gas prices expected to stay low, and part of the state’s tax pegged to wholesale prices on a lag, the state’s fuel tax could fall significantly in the coming months.

47. New York
> Tax as pct. of gas price: 17.4% (2nd highest)
> State fuel tax: 45.1 cents per gallon (3rd highest)
> Gas price: $2.59 (3rd highest)

New York charges more than 45 cents per gallon in taxes, among the highest tax rates in the country. Yet, although the state’s taxes are extremely high, they are likely needed. As of 2013, more than 60% of bridge area in the state was deficient, the highest rate in the United States. Critics of the state’s tax policy, however, could point to New York’s extremely high state and local tax burden, which was the highest in the country as of fiscal 2011, at 12.6% of per capita income.

ALSO READ: The Worst States for Black Americans

48. California
> Tax as pct. of gas price: 17.7% (4th highest)
> State fuel tax: 45.4 cents per gallon (4th highest)
> Gas price: $2.57 (4th highest)

California’s gas taxes are among the highest in the nation, with the state charging 45.4 cents for every gallon purchased. However, such high fees may well be justified as more than 29 billion vehicle miles were driven on California roads last October alone, the most of any state. Additionally, more than 36% of the state’s bridge surface area was either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete as of 2013, more than in all but a few states. In all, California taxed nearly 10 billion gallons of gas in the first eight months of 2014, well more than any other state.

49. Connecticut
> Tax as pct. of gas price: 17.7% (3rd highest)
> State fuel tax: 43.2 cents per gallon (5th highest)
> Gas price: $2.44 (6th highest)

Connecticut charges 47.4 cents in total taxes and fees for every gallon of gas, more than all but two other states. Yet, the state’s gas taxes have been on the decline, as a portion of the taxes is based on gasoline prices. Currently, a gallon of gas costs $2.44 in Connecticut, among the highest gas prices in the United States, although far below the year ago price of $3.69 per gallon.

50. Pennsylvania
> Tax as pct. of gas price: 21.3% (the highest)
> State fuel tax: 50.5 cents per gallon (the highest)
> Gas price: $2.38 (7th highest)

Pennsylvania has the nation’s highest fuel taxes, at 50.5 cents per gallon. This is due to the state’s relatively new gas tax, passed in 2013. The new tax is charged on fuel transactions and is based on the wholesale price of gas — although the reference price used is locked in for roughly another two years and then becomes subject to an even higher minimum. The tax is designed to raise money for construction and necessary repairs for bridges and roads throughout the state.

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