Special Report

States With the Highest (and Lowest) Gas Taxes

21. Colorado
> Tax as pct. of gas price: 11.3% (21st lowest)
> State fuel tax: 22.0 cents per gallon (14th lowest)
> Gas price: $1.95 (13th lowest)

Colorado charges a relatively low 22 cents in taxes per gallon of gasoline. Recently, The Denver Post’s editorial board said that Colorado should raise its fuel tax, especially in the absence of a federal tax hike. The state received a nearly-failing grade from the ASCE for the quality of its roads.The state received a nearly-failing grade from the ASCE for the quality of its roads. According to the group, “Additional funding is needed to maintain and expand the roadway system.”

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22. Massachusetts
> Tax as pct. of gas price: 11.7% (22nd lowest)
> State fuel tax: 26.5 cents per gallon (24th highest)
> Gas price: $2.28 (11th highest)

Massachusetts, home to some of the nation’s wealthiest Americans, also had relatively high tax rates. State and local governments levied nearly $5,000 per capita in fiscal 2011, versus a national average of $4,320. While the state’s fuel tax was roughly at the midpoint for all states, at 26.5 cents per gallon, the overall cost of gas was $2.28 per gallon, one of the highest prices in the country.

23. Utah
> Tax as pct. of gas price: 12.0% (23rd lowest)
> State fuel tax: 24.5 cents per gallon (23rd lowest)
> Gas price: $2.03 (24th lowest)

Utah’s fuel tax rate and overall cost of gasoline, while not remarkably low, are lower than in most states. Utah also benefits from a number of refineries, all located in the Salt Lake City area, which are connected via pipeline to oil from Canada, Colorado, and Utah’s own oil fields, among other states.

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24. Maryland
> Tax as pct. of gas price: 12.1% (24th lowest)
> State fuel tax: 27.4 cents per gallon (23rd highest)
> Gas price: $2.27 (13th highest)

State and local governments in Maryland levied $5,443 in taxes per capita in fiscal 2011, the seventh highest such figure in the country, and more than $1,000 higher than the national figure. The state’s fuel tax rate, on the other hand, was slightly lower than the national rate of 29.8cents per gallon. Despite relatively low fuel taxes, gas costs drivers $2.27 per gallon, the 13th highest figure.

25. Vermont
> Tax as pct. of gas price: 12.8% (25th lowest)
> State fuel tax: 32.0 cents per gallon (13th highest)
> Gas price: $2.50 (5th highest)

Vermont has one of the highest gas prices in the nation at $2.50 per gallon, or 40 cents above the U.S. average price. However, while fuel taxes are relatively high, they are likely only a minor driver of the state’s high gas prices. The greater reason is probably the state’s location — far from most of the nation’s oil infrastructure. There are no oil refineries or pipeline terminals in the state, according to the EIA, which means gas must be imported from other states or Canada via truck or rail.