Illinois bills call for significant fuel tax and vehicle fee increases

May 13, 2019

Keith Goble


Work continues at the Illinois statehouse to address transportation funding needs via increases to fuel tax rates and vehicle fees.

The state now collects 19 cents on each gallon of gas sold and 21.5 cents on diesel. The tax rates are unchanged since 1990.

A bill undergoing changes in the Senate would raise the state’s fuel tax rates and vehicle fees. The additional taxes and fees are estimated to raise $2.4 billion annually.

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, has plans to more than double the taxes on gas and diesel to 44 cents for gas and 52 cents for diesel. Registration fees also would be increased.

One notable increase would be for electric vehicles. The registration fee would increase from $17.50 to $1,000.

Additionally, license plate costs for most vehicles would increase from $98 to $148.

The tax and fee increases would also be tied to inflation, which allows for regular increases.

House lawmakers already approved the legislation. As approved by the chamber, however, HB3233 focused on how to safely pass large trucks.

Any changes approved by the Senate must go back to the House for final approval before moving to the governor’s desk.

A similar plan, HB3823, calls for increasing the taxes on gas and diesel from their current rates to 44 cents per gallon for gas and 46.5 cents for diesel. Various vehicles fees would also be increased.

One more measure at the statehouse would give local governments authorization to collect their own fuel tax. HB102 states that local governments could add up to 3 cents per gallon for gas and diesel sold.

Voters must first pass a local ordinance to permit collection of the additional taxes.

The legislative pursuit for additional tax and fee increases follows a call earlier this year from a group of mayors in the Chicago area for legislators to get a deal done to raise the Illinois fuel tax rate.

Officials say the fuel tax rates have remained unchanged for far too long.

Outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is among the mayors supporting a 20- to 30-cent increase to pay for needed transit and roadwork.

The group also wants the excise rates tied to inflation.

Emanuel’s office says every 5-cent-per-gallon increase in the fuel tax raises about $20 million more in city revenue and more than $250 million statewide.