States With the Highest and Lowest Gas Taxes

January 26, 2018 by Mike Sauter

Source: Gabriele Maltinti / iStock
At the start of this 2018, seven states raised taxes on gasoline, while two states lowered the tax. Pennsylvania lowered taxes by six tenths of a cent, but the state still has the highest gas taxes in the country.

The American system of roads and highways is in drastic need of major overhaul, and that resources needed to make that happen largely depends on money fuel taxes that are primarily set aside for road construction and repair. These funds are raised from a federally imposed 18.4 cent tax on every gallon of gas purchased on American soil, a figure that was last updated in October 1997.

Just as the cost of gasoline varies considerably from state to state, so does the effective tax rate. On top of the federal tax, each state collects its own tax on every gallon of gas sold. Total taxes and fees before the federal tax can be as low as 12 cents per gallon in some cases and as high as nearly $1.00 in others. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the amount each state levies per gallon of fuel to identify the states with the highest and lowest gas tax.

Click here to see the states with the highest and lowest gas taxes.

Just like federal taxes on gasoline, state-imposed gas taxes are primarily used for road repair and new road construction. But they also may serve to reduce wear and tear on the road by limiting use of the roads. Gas taxes are designed to function as a sort of user fee and also a deterrent.

Both these reasons are meant to improve road quality, but if the connection between high taxes and better road quality exists, not enough time has passed for some of these states. The five states with the highest gas taxes also have among the largest proportions of total roadways in less than optimal condition.

A large share of the nation’s roads are in mediocre to poor condition. According to a report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers, some 21% of major U.S. highways have “poor pavement condition.” In some parts of the country, the problem is far more pronounced. In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, over 30% of roads are in sub-optimal condition.

Partially because gas levies can be so politically unpopular, some states have not increased per-gallon taxes in decades. Even the federally imposed 18.4 cent gas tax has remained the same since 1997. For the most part, the states that increased taxes already had high gas taxes. New York, which added 0.65 cents in taxes to every gallon of gas, now has the fifth highest gas taxes. This pattern is not universal, however. In South Carolina, a state with exceptionally low gas taxes, gas taxes increased on Jan. 1, 2018.

The amount a state chooses to tax per gallon of gas is only one factor contributing to prices at the pump. The most significant contributor to the cost of gasoline across the country is the price of crude oil, which is largely dictated by global supply and demand. Refining costs also comprise a considerable share of the final price at the pump.

The differences in gas prices between states are largely determined by both taxes and fuel transportation costs related to the distance from supply sources such as refineries and pipelines. In general, gas prices tend to be higher in states with higher gas taxes. Depending on the state, gas taxes, including the 18.4 cent federal tax, account for anywhere between 4.0% and 20.8% of the total per-gallon cost.

To identify the states with the highest and lowest gas taxes, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed state and average local gas taxes from the American Petroleum Institute. Average gas prices as of January 24, 2018 for each state came from AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. We also reviewed average annual vehicle miles travelled in each state from the Federal Highway Administration. The share of roads in poor or mediocre condition came from the American Society of Civil Engineer’s Report Card For America’s Infrastructure, which uses data from the Federal Highway Administration. All data are as of the most recent period available.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this piece featured incorrect ranks for the shares of roadway in sub-optimal condition in each state. The correct ranks have been included for each state.

These are the states with the highest and lowest gas prices.

Source: Thinkstock

1. Pennsylvania
> State gas tax: 58.7 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.82 / gal. (6th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 20.8% (the highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 13.9% (13th highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

2. California
> State gas tax: 53.5 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $3.18 / gal. (2nd highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 16.8% (2nd highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 28.5% (5th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

3. Washington
> State gas tax: 49.4 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.94 / gal. (4th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 16.8% (3rd highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 15.8% (9th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

4. Hawaii
> State gas tax: 46.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $3.34 / gal. (the highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 13.8% (12th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 29.4% (3rd highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

5. New York
> State gas tax: 44.3 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.69 / gal. (7th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 16.5% (5th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 19.9% (6th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

6. Michigan
> State gas tax: 42.4 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.64 / gal. (10th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 16.1% (7th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 14.2% (12th highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

7. Indiana
> State gas tax: 41.9 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.53 / gal. (23rd highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 16.5% (4th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 8.0% (25th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

8. Florida
> State gas tax: 41.6 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.54 / gal. (22nd highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 16.4% (6th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 3.1% (3rd lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

9. Connecticut
> State gas tax: 39.3 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.68 / gal. (9th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 14.7% (8th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 13.3% (15th highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

10. New Jersey
> State gas tax: 37.1 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.61 / gal. (13th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 14.2% (10th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 29.4% (4th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

11. Oregon
> State gas tax: 36.8 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.83 / gal. (5th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 13.0% (17th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 5.5% (16th lowest)

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Source: Thinkstock

12. West Virginia
> State gas tax: 35.7 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.56 / gal. (17th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 13.9% (11th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 7.1% (22nd lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

13. North Carolina
> State gas tax: 35.4 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.44 / gal. (16th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 14.5% (9th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 6.4% (20th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

14. Illinois
> State gas tax: 35.2 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.63 / gal. (11th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 13.4% (13th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 10.8% (19th highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

15. Rhode Island
> State gas tax: 34.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.56 / gal. (19th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 13.3% (14th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 39.4% (the highest)

Source: Thinkstock

16. Maryland
> State gas tax: 33.8 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.56 / gal. (17th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 13.2% (15th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 14.5% (11th highest)

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17. Nevada
> State gas tax: 33.8 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.68 / gal. (8th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 12.6% (20th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 3.3% (6th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

18. Idaho
> State gas tax: 33.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.59 / gal. (14th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 12.7% (19th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 4.6% (12th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

19. Wisconsin
> State gas tax: 32.9 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.51 / gal. (25th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 13.1% (16th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 15.9% (8th highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

20. Montana
> State gas tax: 32.3 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.59 / gal. (15th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 12.5% (21st highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 3.7% (9th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

21. Georgia
> State gas tax: 31.6 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.44 / gal. (17th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 12.9% (18th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 3.5% (8th lowest)

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Source: Thinkstock

22. Vermont
> State gas tax: 30.7 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.61 / gal. (12th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 11.8% (25th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 5.3% (15th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

23. Iowa
> State gas tax: 30.5 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.53 / gal. (24th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 12.0% (22nd highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 11.3% (17th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

24. Maine
> State gas tax: 30.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.57 / gal. (16th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 11.7% (25th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 6.6% (21st lowest)

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Source: Thinkstock

25. South Dakota
> State gas tax: 30.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.50 / gal. (24th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 12.0% (23rd highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 5.2% (14th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

26. Utah
> State gas tax: 29.4 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.50 / gal. (23rd lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 11.8% (24th highest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 5.6% (17th lowest)

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27. Nebraska
> State gas tax: 29.3 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.55 / gal. (21st highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 11.5% (23rd lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 8.0% (24th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

28. Minnesota
> State gas tax: 28.6 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.50 / gal. (22nd lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 11.5% (22nd lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 4.7% (13th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

29. Ohio
> State gas tax: 28.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.42 / gal. (14th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 11.6% (24th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 12.3% (16th highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

30. Massachusetts
> State gas tax: 26.5 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.56 / gal. (20th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 10.4% (19th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 31.2% (2nd highest)

Source: Thinkstock

31. Kentucky
> State gas tax: 26.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.45 / gal. (19th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 10.6% (20th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 3.1% (4th lowest)

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32. Tennessee
> State gas tax: 25.4 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.35 / gal. (11th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 10.8% (21st lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 5.9% (19th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

33. Kansas
> State gas tax: 24.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.38 / gal. (13th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 10.1% (18th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 1.6% (the lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

34. Wyoming
> State gas tax: 24.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.45 / gal. (18th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 9.8% (17th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 3.1% (5th lowest)

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Source: Thinkstock

35. New Hampshire
> State gas tax: 23.8 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.49 / gal. (21st lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 9.6% (16th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 7.5% (23rd lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

36. Delaware
> State gas tax: 23.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.47 / gal. (20th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 9.3% (13th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 7.8% (25th lowest)

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37. North Dakota
> State gas tax: 23.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.52 / gal. (25th highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 9.1% (12th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 2.7% (2nd lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

38. Virginia
> State gas tax: 22.4 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.36 / gal. (12th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 9.5% (15th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 7.7% (24th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

39. Colorado
> State gas tax: 22.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.43 / gal. (15th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 9.0% (10th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 10.8% (20th highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

40. Arkansas
> State gas tax: 21.8 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.32 / gal. (6th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 9.4% (14th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 13.7% (14th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

41. Alabama
> State gas tax: 20.9 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.29 / gal. (2nd lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 9.1% (11th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 3.5% (7th lowest)

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42. South Carolina
> State gas tax: 20.8 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.31 / gal. (5th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 9.0% (9th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 8.9% (23rd highest)

Source: Thinkstock

43. Louisiana
> State gas tax: 20.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.35 / gal. (10th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 8.5% (7th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 15.3% (10th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

44. Texas
> State gas tax: 20.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.28 / gal. (the lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 8.8% (8th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 10.4% (21st highest)

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45. Arizona
> State gas tax: 19.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.35 / gal. (8th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 8.1% (5th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 4.4% (11th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

46. New Mexico
> State gas tax: 18.9 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.35 / gal. (10th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 8.0% (4th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 5.8% (18th lowest)

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47. Mississippi
> State gas tax: 18.8 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.31 / gal. (4th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 8.1% (6th lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 9.7% (22nd highest)

Source: Thinkstock

48. Missouri
> State gas tax: 17.4 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.30 / gal. (3rd lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 7.5% (3rd lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 4.1% (10th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

49. Oklahoma
> State gas tax: 17.0 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $2.34 / gal. (7th lowest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 7.3% (2nd lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 11.1% (18th highest)

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50. Alaska
> State gas tax: 12.3 cents / gal.
> Gas price: $3.08 / gal. (3rd highest)
> State + fed. taxes as pct. of gas price: 4.0% (the lowest)
> Pct. of roadway in sub-optimal condition: 19.9% (7th highest)