INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana is heading into the Memorial Day weekend tied with California for
the largest gas price increase in the U.S. over the past year, driven in
part by a fuel tax increase enacted by the state’s Republican-dominated
Filling up a tank
in Indiana cost an average of 66 cents a gallon more last week compared to a
year ago, rising to $2.84 a gallon - a 30 percent increase. The nation
increased an average of 45 cents the past year to $2.81 a gallon, a 19
percent increase, recent data from the American Automobile Association show.
California’s 66-cent increase drove it to $3.63 a gallon, a 22 percent
“I haven’t seen the
prices this high probably since college,” said Alicia Russell, 36, an
Indianapolis motorist. “That made it hard for a lot of people driving
Indiana is among
more than two-dozen states that use gas tax revenue in part to fund
transportation infrastructure. Indiana’s tax increase was signed into law by
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb as part of a package of tax and fee increases
that pumped money into upgrading the state’s crumbling roads and bridges.
The law which took effect last July increased the fuel tax from 18 cents to
28 cents, and ties that amount to inflation, so it could continue to
increase up to 1 cent annually.
“There’s a number
of factors that cause it to be as high as 66 (cents),” said an AAA
spokeswoman Tamra Johnson. “But in terms of Indiana being at the top of the
list, we will definitely attribute that to their rise in gas tax.”
conservative Indiana, the increase created risks for GOP lawmakers who have
pledged in the past not to raise taxes. Democrats have said the fuel tax
hike puts undue burden on residents while Republicans give tax cuts to
party was short-sighted and did not do their homework so we are seeing this
really, really high increase in gas prices,” said Rep. Dan Forestal, an
Indianapolis Democrat and ranking minority member of the House roads
GOP Rep. Ed Soliday
of Valparaiso, the legislation’s author, said the state needed the increase
to fix crumbling roads.
needed the money,” he said. “We proved the case. And I wouldn’t change a
High gas prices are
not only a concern for Indiana drivers but also retailers.
Indiana had the
nation’s seventh-highest state tax and fee on gasoline as of April of this
year, according to the American Petroleum Institute, putting it behind
Pennsylvania, California, Washington, Hawaii, New York and Michigan.
“That’s why we’re
so concerned because our taxes are much higher than neighboring states,”
said Scot Imus, executive director of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and
Convenience Store Association. “We were concerned with our members who are
on the border because if you go buy fuel in Kentucky, it’s much cheaper than
As Indiana aims at
striking a balance between increasing its gas tax and funding infrastructure
projects, the question is whether it will continue to see its gas prices
industry leaders have said it is hard to predict future gas prices because
the gas market is especially volatile since President Donald Trump decided
to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Crude oil prices make up a large
portion of what people pay at the pump.
Administration’s move combined with the switchover to summer blend, growing
global demand and shrinking supply continues to fuel pump prices as we
approach the summer driving season,” AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano said
in a statement.