A Big Reason NJ’s Gax Tax is Going Up Again
As New Jersey commuters brace for another hike in the gas tax on October 1, a new report shows the last hike has had a drastic impact on drivers' gas buying habits.
According to AAA's analysis of data from the Oil Price Information Service, the 23 cent-per-gallon tax that was added in November 2016 has clearly resulted in a drop of cross-state motorists who are interested in filling their tanks within New Jersey's borders.
Looking at the total pool of taxable gasoline purchased in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, the analysis found New Jersey's share of sales dipped from an average of 43.68 percent to 41.98 percent, or 17.7 million gallons less per month, from 2016 to 2017.
Over the same period, the amount of taxable gas sold rose in both Pennsylvania and Delaware in 2017.
"We're more on an even playing field in New Jersey because of the gas tax increase," said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "Now that our prices are more on par with the other states, we have lost that additional revenue."
Before the hike, AAA said, commuters could fill their tanks in New Jersey for 8 to 28 cents less per gallon than they could in Pennsylvania or Delaware. Now, New Jersey's pump prices come in at 10 to 15 cents less than Pennsylvania's, and 10 to 15 cents above Delaware's.
When a 2016 law set the stage for the hefty gas tax hike, it included language that would allow for additional increases should revenue fall due to consumption.
The shortfall was calculated at $125.2 million, and to help fill that gap, the state will raise the tax by 4.3 cents per gallon on Monday.
At a press conference Thursday morning, Assemblyman Jay Webber called on Gov. Phil Murphy to suspend the planned increase. Webber also introduced legislation that would require legislative approval before increases are implemented.
"We have a problem in the state of New Jersey, and that is we are overtaxed," Webber said.
AAA said it does not expect Monday's hike to lead to significant changes in drivers' gas buying habits.