Local News

Gas Tax Cap Doesn't Lower Pump Prices

Posted January 1, 2007 5:44 p.m. EST
Updated January 2, 2007 8:23 a.m. EST

— Although lawmakers capped the state gas tax last year, heading off a scheduled New Year's Day increase of 3 cents per gallon, drivers still see higher prices at the pumps than a year ago.

The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded in the Triangle is $2.29, which is 6 cents higher than one month ago and 12 cents higher than a year ago.

"f you're talking 3 cents, you're nickel-and-diming people," driver Scott Higbee said. "You have that tax, you still have the excise tax, you have other state taxes, you have the federal tax."

"If they lowered that tax about $1 more, that would make a difference. People would buy more gas and would travel more," driver Seresa Parker said.

Even with the cap, drivers who fill up at North Carolina pumps pay the highest gas taxes in the Southeast.

The state takes about 30 cents from each gallon sold, and the federal gas tax is just over 18 cents a gallon.

Some retailers said a cut in the gas tax might not trickle down to consumers.

The manager of the Capital Boulevard Exxon said he's taking a loss of 3 cents a gallon on his premium unleaded. If the gas tax dipped 3 cents a gallon, he said he would keep his price the same to break even.

"There's always going to be a loophole through everything, so they're going to find a way regardless of the tax to make their money. It's a capitalist society," driver Dorey Freeman said.