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Hidden Tax: Motorists Shell Out $76 Billion in 2018 for Gas Taxes


Against a backdrop of gas prices that have risen sharply in the last two weeks, motorists are sure to be upset: they’ll be paying $4 billion more in gasoline taxes in 2018 than they did in 2017. That’s $76 billion, or $208 million every day, up from the $72 billion total in 2017.

The rise comes out to an average increase of about 2.6 cents per gallon, but the pain doesn’t hit everyone equally: California saw its gas taxes climb 15.3 cents to 73 cents per gallon, a rise of over 25% versus 2017. Pennsylvania, on the other hand, saw its gas taxes fall 0.6 cents per gallon, yet it still leads the nation with combined taxes amounting to over 77 cents per gallon.

“While motorists fill up and see the final price on their receipt, it’s not always clear just how much of that goes to gas taxes. What’s clear is that most states have recently raised gas taxes using the current environment of lower prices as cover,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “An additional concern is that the federal gas tax has not been touched in decades and may be an attractive revenue option for the federal government if it moves forward on improving infrastructure. No matter the outcome, motorists can lower their fuel bill with common sense: shop around for lower prices and check out various payment options or loyalty programs for easy savings.”

States with the highest combined gasoline taxes and the yearly cost of gas taxes, according to the API:


2018 Combined Tax* (CPG)

Yearly GAS TAXES cost**




77.10 c/gal


-0.60 c/gal



73.13 c/gal


15.3 c/gal



67.80 c/gal



65.32 c/gal


2.70 c/gal


New York

63.09 c/gal


1.15 c/gal



60.82 c/gal


1.48 c/gal



60.30 c/gal


9.06 c/gal



59.76 c/gal


4.57 c/gal



57.70 c/gal


-0.85 c/gal


New Jersey

55.50 c/gal



55.17 c/gal


5.64 c/gal



54.15 c/gal


2.00 c/gal


West Virginia

54.10 c/gal


3.50 c/gal


North Carolina

53.75 c/gal


0.80 c/gal


Rhode Island

52.40 c/gal



52.20 c/gal


0.30 c/gal



52.18 c/gal


0.26 c/gal



51.40 c/gal



51.30 c/gal



52.12 c/gal


2.62 c/gal


*Average c/gal, as of 4/1/18             **Cost per vehicle, average, BASED ON 600 GALS/YR

Motorists should also be aware of the possibility of a rise in the federal gas tax rate, which has remained unchanged at 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. In recent weeks, there has more discussion and talk of doing exactly that. Every penny rise in the federal gas tax would lead America’s annual spending on fuel to rise by $1.46 billion.

GasBuddy is a company that connects drivers with their Perfect Pit Stop. As the leading source for crowdsourced, real-time fuel prices at more than 150,000 gas station convenience stores in the U.S., Canada and Australia, millions of drivers use the GasBuddy app and website every day to find gas station convenience stores based on fuel prices, location and ratings/reviews. GasBuddy’s first-of-its-kind fuel savings program, Pay with GasBuddy, has saved Americans more than $6 million at the pumps since its launch in 2017.