Every year on July 1st, new state fuel excise taxes are ushered in and yesterday was no different. The chart below lists the increases sorted by highest to lowest. Keep in mind this is on top of the existing state tax. Federal tax is $0.1840 per gallon. This year’s winner is Illinois with a whopping $0.19 per gallon increase. Illinois is one of seven states where drivers pay layers of both general sales tax and special excise tax on gasoline at the state and local levels. Those multiple layers mean drivers filling up in Chicago, for example, will pay $0.96 in taxes and fees on a $2.46 gallon of gasoline which equal a tax burden of 39%. The new Illinois taxes are ear marked for an aggressive infrastructure plan. To be fair, Illinois hasn’t raised the gas tax since 1990.
On May 7th we reported the beginning of the end of the spring gasoline price rally. After six weeks of gains on the NYMEX, and summer grade gas specification changes piling on more cost, retailers were unable to pass through daily wholesale price increases.
On April 10th, we had warned the spring price rally along with summer gas specification changes were upon us and soon retail gasoline prices would breach the $3.00 mark. Looking at GasBuddy, retail gas prices today across Pennsylvania $3.00 plus prices are now the norm. Pittsburgh with RFG gasoline leads the state with an average $3.15 per gallon 87 grade pump price.
On March 1st the front month futures gasoline contract closed at $1.74 a gallon. At the time of this writing the contract trades were at $2.03 per gallon, a 14% increase in five weeks. Further pushing physical prices higher is the price differential (Basis) versus the futures which moved $0.07.
Notwithstanding OPEC production cuts, Venezuela sanctions restricting crude supply to the US Gulf Coast driving the market higher, retail gasoline prices are poised to make their annual spring run. Seasonal specification changes in gasoline have a significant impact on price.