Pump It Up: Group Calls for Higher NJ Gas Tax

Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 09:58 AM

A gas station in New Jersey (Jessica Gould/WNYC)

New Jersey needs to raise its gas tax — or risk running out of funding for future road, bridge and transit improvements, according to a nonprofit policy group.

In a new report, New Jersey Policy Perspective says the state should extend its seven percent sales tax to gas, which would raise the price per gallon by 24.5 cents.

New Jersey drivers currently pay 14 and a half cents per gallon, making it the second lowest gas tax in the country after Alaska.

Most of New Jersey's tax goes to a special fund that pays for big transportation projects. But the fund, which has relied on borrowing for years, is running out of money

A state senator recently introduced a bill to raise the gas tax by 15 cents over three years. And a number of advocacy groups, including the AAA, have also called for an increase.

Because consumption taxes tend to be regressive, meaning low-income individuals have to pay a bigger proportion of their income, the group recommends expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit or enacting a new one to benefit those consumers.

But Governor Chris Christie has pledged not to increase taxes, including the gas tax.


Comments [10]

joan from bound brook nj

The nj gas tax is a regressive tax. Hurts those who make less money way more than ut hurts the rich. Why not raising the income tax on the top 1%? They've got money to spare.

Nov. 10 2014 10:47 AM
Keri from New Jersey

NJ residents, just say unequivically "NO" to Lesniak's gas tax increase. Home heating oil prices are based in ge high end pricing for diesel fuel. Seniors in particular with local fixed incomes, didn't you just this w inter struggle shelling out $800 from Dec. 2013 thriugh April 2014 while keeping the thermostat at 60 degrees to save on your oil bill? And food costs will also go up as trucking fuel costs go up for transportation. So just say "NO"!!!

May. 07 2014 05:26 PM
Victor E. Sasson from Hackensack, N.J.

When Governor Christie says New Jerseyans are overtaxed, he's referring to property taxes. It's a no-brainer that road users pay more in gas taxes to fix the roads and make transit improvements. A hike of 15 cents over three years means nothing, if you drive a fuel-efficient car, such as a hybrid, or people could drive at or near the speed limit, instead of wasting gas by driving 10 mph, 20 mph or more over the limit.

May. 05 2014 10:13 AM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Bronx, you don't know what it's like to live on an income level such as mine. I'm not a person who is high up on the ladder here. It already costs a lot to maintain using a car and raising the gas tax is adding insult to injury not to mention that we motorists are already getting the royal screw job. The places you refer in NYC that are affordable are the areas that are very isolated in which a car is still needed to get around for the most part, while transit oriented areas are still very expensive. BTW, I do find it an irony that you are so much against subsidies for gas prices, but have nothing against subsidies that are used for your transit that we motorists give a lot to. Then again, subsidies are always good as long as you benefit from them. Perhaps, it's about time that riders start paying the full price to use transit especially since it needs to be covered and low fares can't do that.

Apr. 26 2014 03:32 PM
Bronx from NYC


Affordable dwellings exist within New York City and the urban areas outside of it like Yonkers, New Rochelle, White Plains, West NY, Hoboken, Jersey City, etc.

Fuel is also heavily subsidized by the government for your information. Gasoline should be significantly more expensive. Right now we can start with the gas tax.

Apr. 26 2014 03:06 PM
TOM from Brooklyn

Ah, New Jersey. Tomorrow I will venture to upstate NY but on the way there I will fill-r-up with cheap Panther Pee on way thru northern NJ. On Sunday eve I will return to the Big Apple. Of course, I will top-r-off on Route 17 and get cancer sticks on the way home. I figure I save a couple of hundred dollars. It's not that I detour; it's the most direct way. And, I miss the Tappen Zee!

Apr. 25 2014 11:16 AM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Bronx, it's great that you can afford to live in a dense, urban area, but that's not the case for everyone. A good part of that has to do with income levels. Unless you are for allowing for more affordable housing or at least better rent control or stabilization, the urban areas will always be seen as playgrounds for the rich. In other words, it's not so easy when you don't have the money for that. Another reason why some choose to drive may involve certain work schedules that aren't compatible with commuter trains and buses, so they are better off driving. By such logic, shouldn't transit fares be raised as well to help cover the costs of transit? I do find it an irony that you want to raise gas prices to a way it could no longer be afforded by anyone except the rich, but cry foul whenever that's the case for fares. Last time I checked, neither gas prices or taxes are subsidized by any level of government. Keep in mind that we motorists already pay a lot to maintaining our vehicles, and I didn't even get into gas prices. As for electric cars, I would love to have one, but they are expensive making them hard to afford on my income.

Apr. 24 2014 08:48 PM
Bronx from NYC

Eric, the purpose of that rebate is to get people out of combustion engine automobiles, which all do wonders on air quality. It's an incentive. Those rebates will disappear once that mode becomes more popular.

"Also, this hurts those that have to drive just to get around wherever they need to get to due to having no viable alternatives to driving."

Move to an urban area perhaps?

It makes absolute sense to raise the gas tax considering:

Improved MPG among newer automobiles.
Increase in electric automobile usage.
Decaying infrastructure.

Apr. 24 2014 08:19 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

The price of gas is already high in most parts of the country. As a matter of fact, it's so high where I live, that I have to come to NJ just to get less. Making it higher will hurt those that are on the lower end of the ladder. Also, this hurts those that have to drive just to get around wherever they need to get to due to having no viable alternatives to driving. If there must be taxes, then place them on the rich rather than on the working and middle classes.

Apr. 24 2014 03:32 PM
Eric F

NJ provides a $3,000 rebate to the wealthy who buy electric cars, which use the roads but the operation of which incurs no gas tax. Such cars are also exempt from state sales tax. So the guy in the 100,000 Tesla got a check for $3k and saved $7k in sales tax. NJ paid him $10,000 toward his luxury statement vehicle. Seems worthy of an NPR report, but i guess this is the "right" kind of subsidy for the rich. That subsidy could be rescinded and the savings put in the TTF. There should also be a point of purchase tax on high mileage cars. Owners will get the benefits of purchasing less fuel, but the state should still recoup the foregone gas tax revenue from cars over a certain MPG threshold.

Apr. 24 2014 01:54 PM

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