A few years back, when gasoline prices were hitting the four-dollar mark for the first time ever, some grassroots movements began campaigning to remove fuel taxes to alleviate citizens. For some people, this was the first time they’d heard of a tax on gasoline and other fuels; for anyone in the transportation industry, it was old news. The Federal Gas Tax is set at 18.4 cents per gallon. Levied on gasoline that’s already $4.23 a gallon, the federal tax seems a bit insignificant, but additional fuel taxes by state vary widely. In no state do taxes create the bulk of the cost, but for truckers, it can help to know where the prices will be higher.
Alaska pays its citizens to remain citizens, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it imposes the least significant fuel taxes by state in the nation: eight cents per gallon on gasoline and diesel, with less on marine and aviation vehicles. On the other side of the country, the Northeast sees some of the highest taxes: 32 cents per gallon on gasoline in New York, 35 on diesel in Pennsylvania. California has a reputation for high gas prices, but just looking at its numbers, 18 cents per gallon on both major fuels, this seems marginal—even lower than most states. Its reputation, though, stems from invisible additions. Every fill up costs at least an extra 7.25% in sales tax (plus local impositions), which most states ignore for fuels, and a 1.2 cents per gallon state UST fee. When filling up a huge truck, those extra percentages can really add up, which explains the high cost of driving through the state. A few other states have secret costs, but California imposes the most.