HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A law made a decade ago impacted drivers in the new year.
On Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, the gas tax increased by 3 cents, bringing the total to 61 cents a gallon. The diesel tax increased by four cents to a total of 78 cents a gallon, which is 67 cents higher than in surrounding states.
Local activist Eric Epstein says it will do more harm than good.
“It is annoying, it is a band-aid on a heart attack. All it’s going to do is increase suffering for people who must have to get from point A to point B. Take their kids to school, go to work, it makes no sense,” said Epstein, coordinator of Rock the Capital.
Until recently, Pennsylvania’s gas tax was the highest nationwide. Now, California has the highest tax rate on gasoline at 68 cents per gallon.
On Dec. 9, 2022, the average price for gas in Pennsylvania was $3.81 per gallon.
Now, it’s $3.61 a gallon, which is still high for some.
“By increasing tax, you are gonna increase hardship on people that are already struggling to get bad. After January 1st your electric bills go up, your gas bills go up, your water bills go up, and your sewage bills go up. This is what we call the misery index, and this is avoidable. It is not going to solve a problem. We’re going to wind up taxing people to a point where it is just gonna be difficult to drive,” says Epstein.
In 2013, former Republican Governor Tom Corbett signed a law that triggers an automatic increase when gas prices exceed $3 per gallon.
“For normal average working people, this is a hardship, it will be harder to get your kids to school, harder to get to work. It is unnecessary, the money is not even going to fix roads and bridges, 50% of the money is gonna be diverted. This is a shame. This is a shame. We need to find a way to fund transportation,” says Epstein.
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Although gas prices have dropped 20 cents in the last month, you could see it rise with this gas tax increasing.