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How long has it been since your state raised its gas tax?

How long has it been since your state raised its gas tax?
1/Pixabay

How long has it been since your state raised its gas tax?

Gas taxes, also called motor fuel taxes, are excise taxes drivers pay on every gallon of gasoline they buy, with diesel and other alternative fuels taxed separately. The lion's share of gas tax revenue is used to maintain roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure.

When Oregon mandated the nation's first gas tax in 1919, 11 years after Henry Ford unveiled the Model T, it did so “for the repair of the damage done to said highways by such vehicles, machines, and engines traveling thereon.” A little more than a decade later, every state in the Union levied a gas tax. The first federal gas tax was established by the Revenue Act in 1932.

A full century after Oregon's experiment, the gas tax remains a crucial source of infrastructure funding. And yet, the federal gas tax has stayed stagnant with an unchanged rate of 18.3 cents per gallon since 1993. During that quarter-century, inflation has dramatically decreased the buying power of that sum, average fuel efficiency has improved by roughly 20%, and highway construction costs have more than doubled, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). The result is a crumbling U.S. infrastructure.

It's not just the federal government losing revenue to antiquated rates. Twenty percent of U.S. states maintain gas tax rates even older than the federal rate, with many others woefully outdated in spite of being more recently updated. Using ITEP data and independent research, Stacker has ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia according to when gas taxes were last raised. The gallery goes in order from most recent to least as of Jan. 1, 2019.

Read on to find out where your state stands.

RELATED: States where people receive the biggest tax refunds

#51. South Carolina (tie)
2/HaloMasterMind // Wikimedia Commons

#51. South Carolina (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 0.5

South Carolina's gas tax increased by 2 cents to 20.75 cents in July 2018. The increase is the second round in a 12-cent hike slated to take place over the course of six years. The first round went into effect in July 2017, when the gas tax was raised for the first time in 30 years.

#51. Maryland (tie)
3/Martin Falbisoner // Wikimedia Commons

#51. Maryland (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 0.5

Maryland's gas tax increased by 1.5 cents per gallon on July 1, 2018. Prices have been on the rise in the Mid-Atlantic state since 2013 when major reform legislation tied the gas tax to fuel prices and inflation.

#51. New York (tie)
4/Shaunfrombrooklyn // Wikimedia Commons

#51. New York (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 0.5

New Yorkers pay one of the highest fuel taxes in the United States. Just four states levy more than the roughly 45 cents per gallon the Empire State collects per gallon. The state raised the gas tax by a little more than a penny per gallon last July 1.

#51. Vermont (tie)
5/Jonathanking // Wikimedia Commons

#51. Vermont (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 0.5

Also in July of last year, Vermont raised its gas tax by 42 cents per gallon. Vermont's gas tax is directly tied to the price of oil, so when oil prices surged, so, too, did the taxes motorists pay for the privilege of gassing up.

#51. Oklahoma (tie)
6/Caleb Long // Wikimedia Commons

#51. Oklahoma (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 0.5

Although Oklahoma raised its gas tax by 3 cents to 19 cents per gallon on July 1, 2018, the Sooner State's motor fuel tax is still among the lowest in the nation. The increase was historic, considering Oklahoma had held its rate steady for more than three decades.

#46. Indiana
7/Nick // Flickr

#46. Indiana

Years since last gas tax increase: 0.6

Note: Indiana applies general sales tax to gasoline, so its gas tax rates are updated based on changes in the price of gas, but this is not reflected in the data.

Because its sales tax rate is tied to gas, rates in Indiana will continue to be adjusted through 2024. In June 2018, the tax was raised by 1 cent as part of a smaller section of a bill that increased the state's gas tax by 10% the year prior.

#41. Oregon (tie)
8/Shaundd // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Oregon (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 1

On Jan. 1, 2018, Oregon raised its gas tax by 4 cents. That hike was the start of a 10-cent increase that's slated to be rolled out in stages ending on Jan. 1, 2024, when the final 2-cent increase goes into effect.

#41. Nebraska (tie)
9/Carol M. Highsmith // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Nebraska (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 1

Previously enacted legislation has caused Nebraska's gas tax rate to rise incrementally over the past several years. The last of a four-part hike—each of which consisted of a 1.5-cent increase for a total of 6 cents per gallon—was scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

#41. North Carolina (tie)
10/Jim Bowen // Flickr

#41. North Carolina (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 1

North Carolina recently reformed its gas tax formula, which led to a phased-in tax increase. The first phase was a 0.3-cent increase in 2017, followed by a 0.8-cent increase on Jan. 1 the following year.

#41. Georgia (tie)
11/DXR // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Georgia (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 1

Georgia raised its gas tax by 0.5 cents per gallon on Jan. 1, 2018. Rates are determined by legislation enacted in 2015 and are now adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index.

#41. Florida (tie)
12/Ebyabe // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Florida (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 1

The gas tax went up in Florida in 2018, but not by much. Because of automatic rate adjustments, motorists now pay 31.4 cents instead of 30.9 cents per gallon.

#40. California
13/Tony Webster // Flickr

#40. California

Years since last gas tax increase: 1.2

California increased its state gas tax by 12 cents per gallon starting Nov. 17, 2017. In November 2018, voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 6, which would have repealed the increase. At 55.22 cents per gallon, the Golden State currently holds the title of #2 highest gas tax in the country behind Pennsylvania.


 

#37. Tennessee (tie)
14/Brent Moore // Flickr

#37. Tennessee (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 1.5

Tennessee's IMPROVE Act, designed to offset road-improvement backlogs, triggered an incremental 6-cent gas tax increase. An initial 4-cent increase went into effect in 2017, with 1-cent increases making up the rest in 2018 and 2019.


 

#37. Montana (tie)
15/Tracy // Flickr

#37. Montana (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 1.5

On July 1, 2017, Montana's gas tax rose by 4.5 cents per gallon. The bump was the first step in a combined 6-cent increase that will be rolled out sporadically, ending in 2023.

#37. West Virginia (tie)
16/Mobilus In Mobili // Flickr

#37. West Virginia (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 1.5

West Virginia increased its gas tax by 3.5 cents on July 1, 2017. The increase was mandated by state law, which ties fuel prices to gas tax rates and mandates a minimum "floor." Since gas prices had been falling since 2014, tax rates fell below the minimum floor, which the new law raised.

#35. Pennsylvania (tie)
17/Jim Bowen // Flickr

#35. Pennsylvania (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 2

At 58.7 cents per gallon, Pennsylvania is in the unenviable position of having the highest gas tax in the nation. In 2013, Act 89 mandated a tax hike of 27 cents over four years, the final installment of which was an increase of 8 cents per gallon in 2017.

#35. Michigan (tie)
18/Phillip Hofmeister // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Michigan (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 2

Note: Michigan applies general sales tax to gasoline, so its gas tax rates are updated based on changes in the price of gas, but this is not reflected in the data.

Michigan's gas tax rose by 7.3 cents per gallon in 2017. Starting in 2022, the state's gas tax will rise every year to keep pace with inflation.

#34. New Jersey
19/Marion Touvel // Wikimedia Commons

#34. New Jersey

Years since last gas tax increase: 2.2

New Jersey initiated a gas tax increase in September 2016 of 4.3 cents per gallon. Spurred by two years of dwindling gas tax collections, the hike puts the Garden State in the top 10 most expensive gas tax rates in the United States.

#33. Washington
20/SounderBruce // Flickr

#33. Washington

Years since last gas tax increase: 2.5

In November 2017, motorists in Washington began to notice stickers explaining a gas tax that had been increasing the price drivers paid at the pump. In 2015 and 2016, lawmakers approved a tax hike of 11.9 cents per gallon, making the state's gas tax the second highest in the nation at that time.

#32. Utah
21/Pablo // Flickr

#32. Utah

Years since last gas tax increase: 3

New legislation in 2016 increased Utah's gas tax by nearly 5 cents per gallon. The law contained a variable-rate formula that likely will force the tax to increase again in 2019 and 2020 by 0.6 cents and 1.2 cents per gallon, respectively.

#30. Idaho (tie)
22/Ken Lund // Flickr

#30. Idaho (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 3.5

The last time Idaho's gas tax changed was when a 7-cent increase was instituted on July 1, 2015. At 33 cents per gallon, Idaho's gas tax is among the 20 highest in the nation.

#30. Rhode Island (tie)
23/Bestbudbrian // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Rhode Island (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 3.5

Starting in 2015, gas taxes in Rhode Island were indexed for inflation, resulting in a 1-cent increase that year. The rate is adjusted in odd-number years, with the next hike slated to go into effect in July 2019.

#29. South Dakota
24/James // Flickr

#29. South Dakota

Years since last gas tax increase: 3.8

The gas tax in South Dakota was 22 cents per gallon through much of the spring of 2016. On April 1 that year, however, the rate jumped by 6 cents per gallon.

#28. Iowa
25/Tony Fischer // Flickr

#28. Iowa

Years since last gas tax increase: 3.9

Iowa's gas tax is subject to change every year on July 1. The last increase, however, was in 2015, when the state raised the tax by 10 cents per gallon.

#27. Virginia
26/Aldenschiller // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Virginia

Years since last gas tax increase: 4

Virginia's gas tax jumped to 22.4 cents per gallon in 2015, where it remains today. In 2013, the tax rate actually dropped in some (but not all) regions of the state.

#25. Kentucky (tie)
27/IIP Photo Archive // Flickr

#25. Kentucky (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 4.5

Kentucky's gas tax is tied to fuel prices, so falling gas prices in 2015 contributed to a 5.1-cent reduction in the state's gas tax. Lawmakers quickly readjusted the minimum floor, resulting in a net increase of 3.5 cents per gallon. A bipartisan group of lawmakers in 2018 sponsored a bill that would, if passed, increase the gas tax by 10 cents.

#25. New Hampshire (tie)
28/Ken Lund // Flickr

#25. New Hampshire (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 4.5

On July 4, 2014, New Hampshire enacted a gas tax increase of 4.2 cents per gallon. The vast majority of the Granite State's residents support another gas tax increase, which has helped to bolster New Hampshire's roads and other infrastructure.

#22. Connecticut (tie)
29/Reizigerin // Flickr

#22. Connecticut (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 5.5

Connecticut was a national outlier in 2008 with a 52.4-cent fuel tax that was higher than any state except California. Although that rate was adjusted in 2013, today's rate of 39.3 cents per gallon is the third highest in the Northeast behind New York and Pennsylvania.

#22. Wyoming (tie)
30/Postdlf // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Wyoming (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 5.5

Wyoming raised its gas tax in 2013 by a full 10 cents. The spike represents the only state gas tax increase in the U.S. in the almost four years prior.

#22. Massachusetts (tie)
31/Aschulkins // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Massachusetts (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 5.5

The last time Massachusetts hiked its gas tax was July 31, 2013, when a 3-cent-per-gallon increase went into effect. Today, the state's 26.54-cent gas tax is among the 20 lowest in the country.

#21. Minnesota
32/Tony Webster // Flickr

#21. Minnesota

Years since last gas tax increase: 6.5

Minnesota's 1988 gas tax rate of 20 cents per gallon remained unchanged for two decades. Between 2008–2012, the rate climbed to 28.5 cents, where it remains today. Minnesota's newly elected governor is pressing hard for an increased gas tax.

#20. Maine
33/Tony Webster // Flickr

#20. Maine

Years since last gas tax increase: 7.5

Maine's gas tax has remained at 30 cents per gallon 2011, putting enormous strain on the state's roads and other transportation infrastructure. In 2018, then-Gov. Paul LePage proposed not raising the tax to keep up with inflation but charging a $150 fee to the few hundred state residents who drove electric cars and therefore mostly avoided the tax.

#19. Washington D.C.
34/Nicolas Raymond // Flickr

#19. Washington D.C.

Years since last gas tax increase: 9.3

An order was issued Oct. 1, 2013, to raise the gas tax in Washington D.C. to 28.8 cents per gallon. The directive was rescinded and the District's gas tax remains at 23.5 cents per gallon.

#18. Hawaii
35/Jim Bowen // Flickr

#18. Hawaii

Years since last gas tax increase: 11.5

Note: Hawaii applies general sales tax to gasoline, so its gas tax rates are updated based on changes in the price of gas, but this is not reflected in the data.

Only three states levy higher gas taxes than Hawaii, which charges 47.88 cents per gallon. Because gas is tied to the general sales tax, the gas tax rate rose by 0.94 cents per gallon on July 1, 2018, even though the rate was not actively raised.  

#17. Wisconsin
36/Teemu008 // Flickr

#17. Wisconsin

Years since last gas tax increase: 12.8

Wisconsin's gas tax rate has remained at 32.9 cents per gallon for more than a dozen years. A call to raise the tax was a hot topic of debate during the 2018 gubernatorial election.

#15. North Dakota (tie)
37/Public.Resource.Org // Flickr

#15. North Dakota (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 13.5

Some activists and experts are calling for North Dakota lawmakers to increase the state's gas tax rate in 2019 to pay for much-needed infrastructure maintenance, expansion, and repair. If that happens, it would be the first time the rate budged since 2005, when the tax was raised to 23 cents per gallon.

#15. Ohio (tie)
38/Jim Bowen // Flickr

#15. Ohio (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 13.5

Like many other states, Ohio depends on gas tax revenue to fund its bridges and roads. That revenue, however, is dwindling: The state hasn't raised its rate of 28 cents since 2005.

#14. Kansas
39/Tony Webster // Flickr

#14. Kansas

Years since last gas tax increase: 15.5

Like officials in many states with antiquated gas tax rates, some Kansas lawmakers are debating raising the state's gas tax from its current 24 cents per gallon. If they take that action, it would be the first increase in roughly 15 years.

#13. Arkansas
40/Taylor Fennell // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Arkansas

Years since last gas tax increase: 17.5

In 2016, several Arkansas lawmakers attempted to raise the state's 21.5-cent gas tax by 8 cents per gallon. The measure failed, and the tax remains the same as it was in 2001.

#12. Missouri
41/Gina Strobel // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Missouri

Years since last gas tax increase: 22.8

At 17 cents per gallon, Missouri's gas tax is among the lowest in the nation. Voters in 2018 were asked to raise that rate by 10 cents per gallon to fund bridge and road improvements. The voters balked, Proposition D failed, and the rate remains the same as it was in 1996.

#11. Delaware
42/Adavyd // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Delaware

Years since last gas tax increase: 24

The tiny state of Delaware has held its gas tax rate of 23 cents per gallon for more than two decades, in spite of surrounding states recently raising gas taxes. The state embarked on an experiment in 2018 that may result in taxes being assessed by miles driven instead of gallons of fuel purchased.

#10. New Mexico
43/Jim Bowen // Flickr

#10. New Mexico

Years since last gas tax increase: 25.5

The first state on the list that's clinging to a gas tax rate even more outdated than the federal government's is New Mexico, which levies a 17-cent tax that's among the lowest in the country. In 2017, lawmakers crafted a bill called HB 228 that would have raised the rate to 27 cents, but the measure failed.

#9. Nevada
44/Prayitno // Flickr

#9. Nevada

Years since last gas tax increase: 26.3

The gas tax rate in Nevada is roughly 33.52 cents per gallon, making it one of the 15 most expensive in the country. Although that rate hasn't risen in more than a quarter century, it actually decreased slightly in 2016.

#8. Alabama
45/Eric Hunt // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Alabama

Years since last gas tax increase: 26.6

Although they are designed for 15- to 30-year lifespans, some roads in Alabama haven't been maintained or upgraded since the early 1960s. Much of the state's infrastructure disrepair can be traced to its 18-cents-per-gallon gas tax, which hasn't been increased since 1992.

#7. Texas
46/Jonathan Cutrer // Flickr

#7. Texas

Years since last gas tax increase: 27.3

The state of Texas established a gas tax in 1923 and updated it just six times in the ensuing years, not counting diesel. That last increase came in 1991 when the rate was raised to 20 cents per gallon, where it remains today.

#6. Colorado
47/Steven Kevil // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Colorado

Years since last gas tax increase: 28

The gas tax in Colorado is set independently of fuel costs and therefore doesn't fluctuate over time. The rate has remained 22 cents per gallon since it was last updated in 1991, although several lawmakers have pressed for a significant increase in recent years to no avail.

#5. Arizona
48/Gage Skidmore // Flickr

#5. Arizona

Years since last gas tax increase: 28.3

Arizona lawmakers and their constituents have long been hesitant to trade higher prices at the pump for improvements to transportation infrastructure. The state's 18-cent gas tax, unchanged since 1991, is the sixth-cheapest in the nation. Efforts to increase the tax stalled in the state legislature in 2017.

#3. Louisiana (tie)
49/Stuart Seeger // Flickr

#3. Louisiana (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 29

Anti-tax sentiment won the day in 2017 when state lawmakers attempted to increase the gas tax for the first time in nearly 30 years. The effort failed, and the gas tax remains 20 cents per gallon, as it has since 1990.

#3. Illinois (tie)
50/Yinan Chen // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Illinois (tie)

Years since last gas tax increase: 29

Note: Illinois applies general sales tax to gasoline, so its gas tax rates are updated based on changes in the price of gas, but this is not reflected in the data.

Because Illinois ties gasoline to the general sales tax, the gas tax rate increased by 1.57 cents per gallon on July 1, 2018, while the official rate has been 19 cents per gallon since 1990. Some lawmakers and media outlets have blamed the state's massive, multibillion-dollar infrastructure budget gap for Illinois' outdated gas tax rate. One nonprofit group has called for quadrupling the tax to 85 cents per gallon.

#2. Mississippi
51/formulanone // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Mississippi

Years since last gas tax increase: 30

Like so many other states unwilling to budge on gas tax increases, Mississippi's transportation infrastructure (and the people and businesses depending on it) are, according to some, the clear losers in the state's unwillingness to raise the rate. The rate has remained 18.4 cents per gallon since 1987.

#1. Alaska
52/Kimberly Vardeman // Flickr

#1. Alaska

Years since last gas tax increase: 48.7

At just 12.25 cents per gallon, Alaska boasts the cheapest gas tax in the United States. That's because the rate was last updated in 1970, making Alaska's gas tax the most outdated in the country by a longshot. In 2017, the City of Anchorage instituted an unprecedented 10-cent hike on gas and diesel fuel.

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