Ohio drivers could see higher gas prices today as a new Ohio gas tax goes into effect.
The boost comes as a part of the two-year transportation budget in which lawmakers and Gov. Mike DeWine agreed to increase taxes on gas by 10.5 cents and diesel fuel by 19 cents per gallon.
In addition, owners of electric and hybrid vehicles will have to pay additional annual fees of $100 and $200, respectively.
Many Ohio drivers had no knowledge of the gas tax increase.
“I honestly had no idea this was happening,” said Dayton resident Tamara Miller on Friday. “My commute is far so it’s going to add up.”
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The funds generated by the tax will raise an estimated $962 million a year in money that will be split between state and local governments to pay for roads and bridges across the state.
“We are going to put quite a bit of it into our paving program,” said Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner. The additional money will help pave about five to 10 additional miles of two-lane roads and help cover local costs for the $20 million Third Street bridge replacement project in Dayton, he said. Some smaller bridge projects on the county’s five-year to-do list may get repaired or rehabilitated more quickly, Gruner added.
The tax does not mean motorists will see prices go up 10 or 11 cents on Monday.
Gas stations are required to pay the higher taxes, not necessarily pass along the higher costs to customers, said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.com. It depends on how gas stations are doing on revenue they sell inside their stores, DeHaan said.
The biggest factor is crude oil prices, which recently have tracked upward as political tensions have increased between the United States and Iran.
DeHaan said he expects that in the near future, Ohio’s gas prices will jump — likely in an amount that exceeds the tax hike — due to pricing trends in the region. After the spikes, the prices likely will gradually edge back down, but at a permanently higher floor, he said.
The additional gasoline tax is expected to cost a motorist who drives 15,000 miles a year and gets 25 miles per gallon an extra $63 per year.
However, some Ohio lawmakers disagreed with the tax hike. State Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, says that lawmakers should’ve looked at where spending and costs could’ve been cut.
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“By not addressing prevailing wage issues and tripling the funding on public transit, we simply put all the cost of road repairs on Ohio citizens at the gas pump,” said Koehler.
Over the weekend, the average gas price was $2.56 a gallon.
One in three Ohioans say gas is too expensive at $2.50 a gallon, according to AAA’s annual gas price survey. In 2018, Ohio gas prices averaged $2.77 a gallon during the summer months and peaked at $2.91 a gallon on May 24, AAA reported.
Despite having to spend more at the gas pump this summer, some think that repairs being done to the roads makes the tax hike worth it.
“As long as it goes towards fixing the roads I don’t mind it,” Motorist John Collins said. “Damage from hitting potholes on a highway could potentially be more costly to a person than 10 cents a gallon.”