The Big Apple is known for its architecture, museums, and entertainment, but it is also known for something not as glamorous—the highest gas tax in the nation. Based on a report from the American Petroleum Institute, New York’s gas tax is higher than California and Connecticut (two other states with historically high gas taxes) according to January 2013 figures. New Yorker’s paid seven different taxes amounting to 69 cents per gallon, a number about 20 cents higher than the national average of 48.8 cents per gallon (O’Donnell). Drivers pay a myriad of taxes including: a motor fuel excise tax, a petroleum business tax, a state sales tax, and many more related fees, which claim to finance transportation.
However, according to Robert Sinclair, spokesperson for the American Automobile Club of New York, “None of that revenue is going toward motor-related issues, it’s going to the general fund.” According to the Brooking’s Report regarding the gas tax, “Since the passage of TEA-21 in 1998, New York’s state gas tax has generated approximately $5.8 billion in receipts. The state spent $3.9 billion (67.5 percent) on “state-administered highways,” transferred or directly spent $820 million (14.2 percent) on local government-administered roads, and allocated $953 million (16.5 percent) to fund mass transit.”
In contrast, Carl Davis, senior analyst at the Institute on Taxation and Policy Reform claims, “For the past 20 years, the sales and petroleum business taxes have enabled New York to increase its revenues, which are necessary to keep pace with the rising costs of road construction.”
The objective of a gas tax is to fund transportation projects, however in New York it has been heralded as a hindrance on the economy. Drivers have been known to travel to New Jersey simply to purchase gas. To mitigate the rapidly increasing price gouging, Jeffrey Klein, a Bronx official who is co-leader of the State Senate has proposed a gas tax holiday on long weekends or holiday weekends to allow people to enjoy the weekend with less burden on their wallets.
At a federal level the gas tax has not been increased in 18 years, making New York’s policy seem progressive. However, although it may be a burden to New Yorkers it is a necessary policy to finance transportation projects. In actuality, the gas tax in New York is modest compared to Europe. The question that remains is how effective is New York’s gas tax?
Post reviewed by Ben Chaney
"Gas Tax Holiday Proposed For New York; Cuomo Launches Assault on Gouging." CBS New York. 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 3 Apr. 2013.
O'Donnell, Cathey. "New York Fuels Nation's Highest Gas Taxes." (2012) Lohud. The Journal News, 17 Mar. 2012. Web. 3 Apr. 2013.
Puentes, Robert, and Ryan Prince. Fueling Transportation Finance: A Primer on the Gas Tax. Rep. Washington DC: Brookings Institution, 2003. Web.