Gas and diesel prices across the country have started to rise again after small and sporadic increases and decreases over the last several months.
Last week, the average price of a gallon of diesel went up 5.6¢ to $2.445 per gallon, the highest price since November of 2015. Gasoline was up .023¢ to $2.229 per gallon, the highest price over the last three months, but still lower than the highpoint of $2.39 in June.
Despite these slowly fluctuating national fuel prices, for the first time in thirty years, the New Jersey Legislature has voted to raise the State’s fuel taxes in an effort to keep the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund solvent - 23¢ per gallon for gas and 27¢ per gallon for diesel.
The current taxes are 14.5¢ for gas and 17.5¢ for diesel.
The Fund ran out of money this summer, causing NJ Governor Chris Christie to order a shutdown of all non-emergency road and bridge construction. The new bill will not only replenish the transportation fund, but is also slated to use some revenue for projects such as a sales tax reduction of .003¢, providing aid to veterans and providing a cut in retirees’ taxes.
The State and Assembly has committed to providing $2 billion annually for the next eight years to fund the various projects, and there is some apprehension as to whether this amount would be enough to get a grip on the State’s infrastructure.
Several other states are watching New Jersey closely to gauge the effect of the tax hike legislation: Alaska; Alabama; Tennessee; Minnesota; and California. Governor Christie is expected to sign the bills by the end of this month with the tax hikes taking effect on November 1st.