Senator proposes repeal of gas tax hike
In 2013, former Republican Governor Tom Corbett signed Act 89, legislation that triggers an automatic gas price tax increase on wholesalers when gas prices exceed $3 per gallon. The Jan. 1 increase brings gas taxes from about 58 cents per gallon to more than 61 cents per gallon while diesel fuel taxes increased from more than 74 cents per gallon to 78 cents. The taxes are supposed to help pay for road and bridge projects.
After signaling his intent to do so in December, Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-Clearfield, has introduced Senate Bill 35 to stop the gas tax increase, while promising future legislation to create a mileage-based user fee on electric vehicles to help generate more money for transportation projects. Gas prices skyrocketed early in 2022 before prices abated at the end of the year. Prices have increased again in the past week, though they are still less than they were a year ago, according to the AAA.
“Please join me in sponsoring this legislation to stop the automatic gas tax increase,” Langerholc wrote in his co-sponsorship memorandum. “This is the first time in 10 years that we will see a gas tax increase due to the anti-energy and inflationary policies of President Biden, which will place Pennsylvania with the second-highest gas tax in the nation following California.”
Rather than increase gas taxes, Langerholc wants to see PennDOT spend less money while also calling for an increase in taxes on electric vehicles. The Clearfield Republican said the existing Alternative Fuels Tax results in roughly $10 per electric vehicle paid to the state compared to $380 a year the average driver pays in gas taxes.
In addition, we need to identify forward-thinking solutions to ensure all road users, such as owners of electric vehicles, are paying their fair share. … In the near future, I intend to introduce a co-sponsorship memo calling for a gas-tax equivalent Mileage-Based User Fee to be imposed only on light-duty electric vehicles.”
Langerholc’s bill was referred Friday to the Senate Transportation Committee, which Langerholc chairs.