With a new year comes a new gas tax for Pennsylvania drivers. The state gas tax is set to go up by 3.5 cents for gasoline and four for diesel fuel. The increase goes into effect Jan. 1 thanks to a trigger in Act 89 of 2013, signed into law during the Corbett administration. The increase is aimed at paying for road and bridge projects. The price hike does not mean it will be passed onto the consumer at the pump right away, since it’s an increase for wholesalers.
But the prices of crude oil and other factors can cause a ripple effect that leads to higher pennsylvania natural gas rates. According to economics professors, a lack of refinery capacity in Texas and Louisiana due to hurricanes and a cutback in production in Russia and Saudi Arabia are contributing to the rise in gas prices. “What we’re seeing is the result of a number of things coming together,” said University of San Diego economics professor Alan Gin. “The price of crude oil is higher, the supply of crude is less than it has been in the past, and there are some geopolitical things happening that are pushing prices up.”
A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation says the gas tax is necessary to help pay for road and bridge construction. They also say that it will help make the roads safer for everyone. But the governor is pushing for other funding sources. He wants to phase out the gas tax and replace it with a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fee.
VMT would be based on the number of miles a driver travels in a given period of time, similar to how the fuel tax is currently calculated. The idea is to create a more fair and equitable method for funding infrastructure, the governor says. He has also encouraged legislators to find other ways to reduce the gas tax.
While legislators have been debating what to do about the gas tax, some residents are already taking steps to save money at the pump. Ismael Djariri of Mechanicsburg is one of them. He says his family’s budget doesn’t stretch as far as it used to and he worries that the new gas tax will hurt them even more.
In addition to lowering the cost of gas, residents in Pennsylvania can save on their electricity bills by switching to a cheaper supplier. KDKA’s Briana Smith has more on that. You can check out the lowest energy rates in your area on PaGasSwitch, a state-approved shopping website for comparing natural gas suppliers. It only takes minutes to sign up, and you can start saving immediately. Best of all, you can change providers anytime you like. It’s the perfect solution to save on your energy costs while helping to keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket. For more information, please visit our website today.