If your gas tank is guzzling your paycheck, you aren’t alone: U.S. gas prices hit a record high in early March 2022. Several factors contribute to what you pay at the pump, from your proximity to refineries to supply and demand to good ol’ taxes.
In fact, for every gallon of gas you buy, you pay 18.40 cents in federal gasoline taxes. Your state then charges you a gas tax on top of that. Congress is considering suspending the federal gas tax until January 2023, and some states are following suit.
That’s promising news for people in these 10 states, where gas taxes are the highest in the nation.
Even though Michigan has the least expensive state gas tax on our list, it’s far from a low rate. Michiganders pay 45.17 cents per gallon in state taxes alone. This means that sedan drivers with a 16-gallon tank spend more than $7 just on the gasoline tax every time they fill up. For a truck with a 25-gallon tank, that price is closer to $12.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently proposed a temporary gas tax freeze, so it’s possible that relief is coming soon.
The Empire State charges just over 48 cents per gallon of gas. Coupled with the federal rate, filling up in New York means you’re paying 66.62 cents in taxes for every gallon. At an average cost of $4.30 per gallon in March, that means gas taxes account for 15% of the price you pay at the pump.
While New York Gov. Kathy Hochul says that gas tax relief is “on the table,” nothing concrete has been decided as of yet.
Washington state’s gas tax rate has been a constant 49.40 cents since 2016. That rate was likely a bit easier to stomach back then, too, when the national average gas price was around $2.25 per gallon. Now, however, Washingtonians are paying more than double that, with the state average per-gallon cost over $4.70.
So far, efforts to reduce or pause Washington’s gas tax haven’t proven fruitful. For now at least, the nearly half-dollar gas tax stands firm.
In Indiana, you’ll pay 49.79 cents in state taxes for every gallon of gas you buy. With the federal tax included, you’re looking at 68.19 cents in total gas taxes. Still, even with one of the highest gas taxes in the country, Indiana residents pay less at the pump than the national average — but only by about 10 cents.
Some Indiana politicians called for a three-month gas tax moratorium to ease pressure from rising fuel prices, but this proposal was ultimately rejected.
Breaking the 50-cent mark, Nevada’s gas tax rate is the sixth-highest in the U.S. at 50.48 cents a gallon. At $5.25, Nevada’s average gas price is also well above the national average per-gallon cost, which was $4.23 as of the end of March.
The state doesn’t appear to have any gas tax relief measures in the works at the moment, so Nevadans may need to hunker down for a rather stationary summer.
Even though it decreased by 8 cents in 2021, New Jersey’s gas tax is still one of the most expensive in the nation at 50.70 cents per gallon. New Jersey drivers whose cars take 16 gallons of gas will pay more than $8 in taxes every time they fill up. Vehicles with bigger gas tanks — say, 25 gallons — incur almost $13 in fuel taxes.
The Garden State has a few relief measures up for consideration, namely a bill to offer lower fuel prices to drivers who pump their own gas and a bill to reduce the gas tax altogether.
It may not be much of a surprise that Hawaii charges so much for gas, considering that the state has to import much of its fuel. Still, that 51.69 gas tax is eyebrow-raising. With the federal rate added in, drivers in Hawaii pay just over 70 cents in gas taxes for every gallon they purchase.
Back in January, Hawaii Gov. David Ige proposed a $100 direct tax rebate for taxpayers and their dependents. Nothing’s been decided as of yet, but relief may be on the way if the measure passes.
Ranking among the top three states for most expensive gas taxes, Pennsylvania imposes a tax of 58.70 cents per gallon. This means that drivers in Pennsylvania pay 77.10 cents in total taxes when you tack on the federal gas tax.
Several Pennsylvania lawmakers have offered ideas for gas price relief, from a gas tax reduction to a gas tax holiday. Pennsylvania residents, stay tuned to see if you’ll be able to start saving at the pump.
This Midwestern state may be a surprising addition, but Illinois charges 59.60 cents per gallon in state gas taxes — nearly double the national average state tax rate of 31.02 cents. Combined with the federal tax rate, drivers in the Land of Lincoln pay nearly 80 cents a gallon on taxes alone.
Back in 2019, Illinois’s gas tax rate doubled from 19 cents to 38 cents per gallon. It has increased every year since. The state currently has a tax relief bill on the table, but it’s been met with mixed reactions thus far.
California rounds out our list as the state with the highest gas taxes in the entire country. Residents of the Golden State pay an additional 68.15 cents on top of the federal tax rate, for a whopping 86.55 cents in total gas taxes, with the average overall price of gas creeping up to nearly $6 per gallon.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing a partial gas tax suspension, as well as a $400 rebate for Californians who own a registered vehicle.
We’re all waiting on pins and needles for gas prices to come back down, but there’s no way to predict when that’ll be. In the meantime, figuring out how to save money on gas might be one of your top priorities.
You can try to carpool or cut back on unnecessary trips in the meantime, but you can also be strategic in how you pay at the pump. Instead of using your debit card, switch to one of the best credit cards for gas purchases. That way, you’ll at least earn rewards or cash back to help offset those rising fuel costs.