New Jersey’s gas tax will stay at 41.4 cents a gallon for the next year, the state treasury announced Wednesday following concerns that a recent decline in sales could lead to an increase to the surcharge.
Meanwhile, the state’s diesel fuel tax will stay at 48.4 cents per gallon, State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said Wednesday morning.
Lawmakers and state officials had speculated that a gas tax increase could be announced in August, due to the heightened popularity of electric hybrid vehicles leading to a continuing decline in sales which would prompt the gas tax to continually increase.
That reasoning has led to some lawmakers, such as Assemblywoman Patricia Egan Jones, D-5th District, to push for a “road user fee” that would be levied against anyone who drives on New Jersey’s roads.
“We’ve heard from a lot of folks with electric vehicles, plus we have the hybrids who are reducing how much gallons people buy. We are definitely going to be addressing how they use the roads. And isn’t a gas tax a user fee?” Egan Jones, who services as vice-chair of the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee, said at a Woodbridge event hosted by the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey in March.
Gas tax money goes into the state’s multi-billion dollar Transportation Trust Fund, which finances roads, railways and other infrastructure projects across the state. Over the TTF’s eight-year lifespan, the state will put $16 billion into the fund, or $2 billion a year.
Under state law, if gasoline revenue goes up, the tax rate decreases; if the gas consumption goes down, the tax must increase. The most recent increase was an addition of 4.3 cents in October.
The biggest increase was in 2016, when it shot up by 23 cents from among the lowest in the country.