Motorists look to save on fuel costsPublished 10:25am Friday, January 3, 2014
As the calendar rolled over to 2014 the gas prices in West Virginia rolled up. The state raised its gas tax to 35.7 cents per gallon. That’s good for the 10-highest state gas tax nationwide, narrowly eclipsing Florida’s 35.5 cents tax.
While the tax hike will surely cause some anger on W.Va. roads it’s likely that pumps in Lawrence County could reap the benefits. At 28 cents on the gallon, Ohio has a much cheaper state gas tax than either W.Va or Kentucky (32.3) allowing for typically cheaper fuel prices.
“Gas prices are too high nationwide,” said Ryan Carter of Huntington, W.Va. who was filling up at the Speedway in South Point on Tuesday. “I come over here pretty often to get gas. The prices here are usually the cheapest in the Tri-State.”
The average American spends roughly $2,000 a year on fuel, with state gas taxes making up a majority of that money, according to a study conducted by H&R Block in 2012. However, Jamal Kheiry a communications manager for the Marathon Petroleum Corporation, says that while motorists may seek cheaper prices across state lines, the price of gas is impacted by many variables.
“As with any increase in taxes, there is a potential for consumers to drive across a state border if they can find lower fuel prices,” Kheiry said. “This does typically impact the stores located closest to the border. But there are many factors that affect the costs of fuel with state taxes being only one of them.”
All states also pay a federal gas tax, which currently stands at 18.4 cents a gallon, a price that was set in 1993. Recently, Congressman Earl Blumenauer from Oregon proposed a bill to the House of Representatives that, if passed, would raise the federal tax by 15 cents. The proposed bill suggests using the gas tax as a way to pay off America’s national debt.