Mar 21, 2022 - News

Ohio considers pause on gax tax amid high prices

State gas taxes
Data: Federation of Tax Administrators; Map: Baidi Wang/Axios

Even before the recent spike in gas prices, some Ohio lawmakers wanted to lower the tax you pay every time you fill up at the pump.

Driving the news: There's a renewed focus on the gas tax issue with the average price of gas having surpassed $4 per gallon.

Why it matters: Lowering or suspending the gas tax could save drivers money, but potentially cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars used to improve roads and bridges.

The big picture: Ohio has the seventh-largest gas tax in the nation, per the Federation of Tax Administrators.

  • Drivers here pay an extra 38.5 cents per gallon of gas and 47 cents per gallon of diesel fuel.
  • Maryland, with the ninth-largest gas tax, recently became the first state to act by approving a law to pause collection for 30 days.

State of play: Republicans in the Ohio Senate are pushing a bill to reduce the tax to 28 cents per gallon for both gas and diesel for the next five years.

  • The bill also proposes removing electric and hybrid vehicles' registration fees for those five years.
  • A variety of business and financial interests registered to lobby on the bill, records show, including car manufacturers, government associations, a trade group representing truckers and the Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum Corp.

What they're saying: Sen. Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City), the bill's main sponsor, claimed the money lost by lowering the gas tax would be offset by the federal money flowing to Ohio via the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

  • " ... one thing we can all agree on is that this drastic increase (in gas prices) is causing financial difficulties and stress for Ohioans," Huffman said.

The other side: Gov. Mike DeWine has pushed back, saying the trade-off isn't worth it.

  • "I think people would be very surprised if they found in six months that their roads are not being repaired," he recently said, per cleveland.com.
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