Fuel tax rate changes for new year

December 2018/January 2019

Keith Goble

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States around the nation are ringing in the new year with notable increases in their fuel tax rates.

The most notable increase is slated for Utah, where the state’s excise tax rate of 29.4 cents per gallon on gas and diesel is on the way up.

A 2015 state law authorized a nickel fuel-tax increase. The law included a component to turn the excise rate into a sales tax, which allows for regular increases. As a result, the first of the year marks an increase in the tax rate by

0.6 cents to 30 cents per gallon.

The state of Nebraska will implement the final round of a four-step increase in the state’s tax rate over four years. Since January 2016, the state’s fixed tax rate has increased annually by 1.5-cent increments to top out at 29.5 cents.

The state tax is made up of three components: the 3.5-cent variable tax, the 14.8-cent fixed tax and the 9.7-cent wholesale tax. The variable and wholesale rates are adjusted twice annually.

At press time, adjustments in the variable and wholesale rates were yet to be announced.

A separate petroleum release remedial action fee is not included in the state tax rates and remains unchanged at 0.9 cents per gallon on gas and at 0.3 cents on diesel.

Modest changes of likely one penny or less are expected in states that include Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, New York, North Carolina and West Virginia. The changes are based on automatic adjustments.

States with automatic adjustments are due to tax rates calculated by percentage of fuel price in addition to a flat excise tax, fuel tax calculated by percentage of fuel price, indexed to Consumer Price Index, and/or other means.

Some states with automatic adjustments are implemented annually while others change more frequently. LL

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.