If you’ve been anywhere near a gas station this year, you’re aware of the skyrocketing price of petrol in recent months.
Nevadans are particularly feeling the pinch, as the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in the Silver State was $5.66 as of June 13, according to AAA. That’s the second-highest price in the nation, behind only California and well above the national average of $5.01.
A year ago, the average price of regular unleaded in Nevada was fully $2 less a gallon, at $3.66.
Part of the problem lies with the gas taxes paid by Nevadans. The price of each gallon of gasoline includes 68.88 cents in taxes, or 11 cents more than the U.S. national average, according to the American Petroleum Institute. The only states with higher gas taxes are New Jersey, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California.
Of course, Nevada isn’t the only state experiencing high gas prices. But some states have taken action to relieve at least a little of the burden.
New York began a gas tax holiday earlier this month. The holiday, which suspends the collection of excise tax, prepaid sales tax and state sales tax on both gasoline and diesel in the Empire State, will run through the end of the year.
Gas tax holidays in Connecticut, Georgia and Maryland went into effect earlier this year.
Such a move would have far less impact in Nevada, however.
That’s because a law last modified in 1997 automatically raises Nevada’s fuel tax by the exact amount of any reduction at the federal level. If lawmakers agreed to suspend collection of the federal gas tax by 18.4 cents per gallon, state gas taxes would simply increase by the same amount.
It’s difficult to say which is more discouraging: the fact that legislators have locked in gas tax revenues no matter how high the price of fuel goes, or that Connecticut, Maryland and New York, none of which have reputations as tax havens, were willing to do what Nevada won’t.