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So what’s the big deal about raising the gas tax? It turns out, we already willingly pay extra now

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox said what everyone knows to be true last week when discussing the quickly depleting Transportation Trust Fund:

Revenue enhancer?

He means a tax. Such as an increase in the gas tax.

At 10.5 cents per gallon, New Jersey has the second-lowest gas tax in the country. Raising it, however, is considered political suicide.

“I do not favor and will not sign any increase for a gas tax,” Gov. Chris Christie has said.

But why?

An unofficial NJBIZ study showed Jerseyans already pay an additional gas tax depending on one simple factor: where they buy it.

On Oct. 21, we visited a dozen gas stations within a 10-mile radius of our offices in Somerset. What we found was stunning.

Gas prices in our survey varied by 40 cents per gallon, going for as low as $2.65 and as high as $3.05, with plenty of options in between. And all the stations we visited had customers.

If consumers don’t mind these wide ranges of prices, what’s a few more cents on every gallon?

The answer may surprise you again. For every cent the gas tax is raised, it’s estimated the state raises an additional $50 million (plenty of it coming from out-of-state drivers).

And while everyone agrees an additional gas tax alone cannot replenish the fund, every $50 million counts.

Especially for a product drivers don’t seem to mind paying extra for already.

E-mail to: andrews@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @andrewsnjbiz
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Andrew Sheldon
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