Raleigh, N.C. — One of North Carolina's most griped about tax is fixing to go up a penny on Jan. 1.
Drivers currently pay 36.5 cents for every gallon they pump into their cars, mopeds, minivans and such. That rate shifts to 37.5 cents per gallon next month.
The per-gallon gas tax rate is recomputed every six months using a flat fee of 17.5 cents plus a number that averages the per-gallon wholesale price of gas and diesel over six months.
Those who have been watching gas prices plummet this fall may be wondering why, given that price-per-gallon component, the state gas tax isn't also falling.
It's because the base period used for the calculation was April through September. As data from the online site GasBuddy.com shows, gas prices were just about to reach their highs for the year in April and didn't begin dropping until August. This fall's precipitous price drop didn't really take hold until late September.
How high were gas prices this summer? High enough that, if the gas tax weren't capped under current law, the per-gallon tax would have bumped up another 0.2 cent to 37.7 cents per gallon on Jan. 1.
Presuming there's not a huge spike in gas prices over the next three months, drivers should see North Carolina's gas tax dip when it's recomputed on July 1.