Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daria Anderson-Faden
The Observer 


No Plans Now To Lift State Gas Tax To Give Consumers A Break


March 17, 2022

Daria Anderson-Faden

Just like everywhere, the prices for gas at Kwik Stop this week are higher than anybody wants.

While a stop at the local gas pump this past week might have sent area drivers into a meltdown, one can hope that the price has topped out.

Some state lawmakers or governors from such states as Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin and New Mexico are encouraging either state or federal suspension of taxes at the gas pump to help residents deal with the rising price of gas – but that may not be the case in Nebraska, where the state gas tax was a 28 cent chunk of the average gas price of $3.93 on Monday, May 14.

An email from Gov. Pete Ricketts to the Observer said: "There's no action pending on lifting the state gasoline tax – as you may know, the federal imposed gas tax is the other component."

State Sen. Steve Erdman said, "There is no chance the gas tax is going to be lifted."

The federal gasoline tax is 18.4 cents per gallon and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel fuel. Emails to Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse about the possibility of lifting the federal gasoline tax were not immediately returned.

How much would lifting gas taxes help consumers? According to the Tax Foundation website, Nebraska's 28 cent gas tax ranks 31st highest (or 19th lowest) among the 50 states. Nebraska's statewide average gas price was $3.93 on March 14, according to GasBuddy.com, which monitors gas prices.

The highest state gas tax was in California at 66.98 cents and the lowest was Alaska at $14.98 cents, according to the Tax Foundation.

As of March 14, GasBuddy reported that average gasoline prices in Nebraska were unchanged over the past week, averaging $3.93, according to GasBuddy's survey of 1,150 stations in Nebraska. The prices in Nebraska were 56.3 cents per gallon higher than a month ago and $1.15 higher than a year ago.

The national average price of gasoline was unchanged over the last week, averaging $4.32.

The national average is up 83.6 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands $1.47 higher than a year ago, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million weekly price reports covering more than 150,000 gas stations across the country.

"After a furious increase in the national average over the last two weeks, the top appears to be in with average gas prices slowly starting to decline over the last few days," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysts at GasBuddy. "While the decrease could be short-lived, it is nonetheless a well-needed break from the large surge in gas prices we've experienced over the last few weeks.

"The situation remains fluid, and escalations remain very possible, if not likely. For now, a $4.50 per gallon national average is off the table, but it certainly could be a future possibility as long as there is conflict between Russia and Ukraine."

GasBuddy put together the average Nebraska gasoline prices for the past 10 years:

March 14, 2021: $2.78 (U.S. average: $2.86).

March 14, 2020: $2.14 (U.S. average: $2.23).

March 14, 2019: $2.48 (U.S. average: $2.53).

March 14, 2018: $2.51 (U.S. average: $2.52)

March 14, 2017: $2.31 (U.S. average: $2.28)

March 14, 2016: $2.02 (U.S. average: $1.94)

March 14, 2015: $2.43 (U.S. average: $2.43)

March 14, 2014: $3.50 (U.S. average: $3.52)

March 14, 2013: $3.67 (U.S. average: $3.70)

March 14, 2012: $3.80 (U.S. average: $3.82)

Here are a few tips to save fuel or get better mileage from AAA:

• Keep tires properly inflated.

• Avoid "jackrabbit" starts and hard acceleration.

• Avoid idling, even in winter.

• Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands.

• Take your car to a repair shop as soon as possible if the "Check Engine" light comes on.


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