The latest update from AAA Mid-Atlantic shows motorists are not benefitting from the state’s low gas taxes.
As of today, the average price at the pump in Delaware is $2.29 a gallon. In South Jersey, the price is $2.22.
Yet, according to the most recent figures from the American Petroleum Institute, New Jersey motorists pay far more in state and federal gas taxes. In Pennsylvania, motorists pay nearly $1 a gallon in taxes.
Why is the price of gas higher in Delaware when our gas tax is lower? And why are we not seeing state investigations and general outrage in a contentious election year?
Three words sum it up – gas is cheap.
Right now, the cost of stopping by five times a week for large cup of coffee at your nearby convenience store is the equivalent of buying three gallons of gas.
As a general rule, the price per gallon has to approach $3 a gallon before people become upset.
As for the price gap with New Jersey, many of us did not get the memo and still believe taxes are lower on the other side of the bridge.
Former governor and University of Delaware grad Chris Christie convinced the legislature to deal with crumbling roads and bridges with a sizable gas tax hike. The formula in place will raise gas taxes by another nine cents this fall.
Delaware has been able to cobble enough money together through tolls and higher motor vehicle fees to fund big projects such as reconstruction of I-95 and the Route 301 toll road while avoiding a gas tax hike.
The tale is often told in Legislative Hall is told of lawmakers who were sent packing after voting for a higher gas tax. A gas tax plan from former Gov. Jack Markell went nowhere, although the state’s low vehicle fees were increased.
The moment of truth may be approaching, with demand for motor fuels down during the pandemic, legislators may one day face some tough choices.
It will be of cold comfort to know that if push comes to shove, wholesalers and retailers appear to be more than willing to pass along the full cost to motorists and perhaps tack on a few cents more.
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