Every time you put the nozzle into the fuel tank of your automobile, more than fuel flows when you press the handle.
The squeeze also pumps tax dollars into local, state and federal governments for transportation projects.
Florida has one of the highest overall gas tax rates in the nation. In addition to the federal government’s tax of 18.4 cents per gallon, the state of Florida has another 26.5 cents per gallon controlled by state law. Finally, local governments can add up to 12 cents for a grand total of 56.9 cents in taxes for each gallon.
More:Here are the projects that doubling Jacksonville’s local gas tax would cover
The city of Jacksonville uses half of the 12 cents it can levy with the local option gas tax. A proposal to double that tax from 6 cents per gallon to 12 cents has put the gas tax in the spotlight at City Hall where City Council will vote in the coming weeks on the Jobs for Jax program of $930 million in transportation projects submitted by Mayor Lenny Curry and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the gas tax and the proposed increase.
How much will the 6-cent per gallon increase in the gas tax cost me?
It depends on factors such as how much you drive and the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. A driver who logs 15,000 miles annually in a vehicle that gets 30 miles per gallon in combined city-highway driving would purchase 500 gallons of gas in a year. The additional 6 cents per gallon in taxes would add $30 more in taxes on that purchase of 500 gallons of gas. A driver whose vehicle gets 20 miles per gallon would buy 750 gallons of gas annually so the additional tax would cost $45 more over a year of fill-ups.
How many households do not have vehicles?
Even in car-dependent Jacksonville, about 8.7 percent of households do not have access to vehicles, according to U.S. Census data. Those households would not feel any impact from the gas tax. On the flip side, many households have two or more vehicles so the total impact on a family will depend on how many vehicles it has, how much driving the family does, and the fuel efficiency of the automobiles. In Jacksonville, the average number of vehicles per household is 1.62.
Does gas cost more in counties that have already gone to the maximum 12 cents per gallon on the local gas tax?
Not necessarily. In the Jacksonville metropolitan area, Nassau County and Clay County both have the maximum 12 cent local option gas tax. Duval and St. Johns counties are still at 6 cents. But daily updates by organizations that track gas prices showed Wednesday that the average price at the pump was virtually the same for the counties. AAA showed the average price for gas in Duval County was at $2.832, Nassau was at $2.847, St. Johns was at $2.846 and Clay was at $2.842. The same pattern holds for Gas Buddy’s tracking: Duval was at $2.817, Nassau was at $2.829, St. Johns was $2.834 and Clay was $2.812. Gas prices fluctuate daily so that trend can change as well.
Does the amount of taxes change based on the price of gas going up and down?
No. The gas tax is assed based on a per gallon basis. Regardless of whether the cost of a gallon of gas is $2 or $3 or $4 per gallon, the tax is the same because it’s charged by the gallon.
Has the state of Florida or federal government increased their gas taxes?
The federal government’s gas tax has not changed since 1993. The state of Florida does annual adjustments based on the consumer price index. As a result of those year-by-year adjustments, the state gas tax is 3 cents per gallon higher this year than it was in 2012, according to the state Department of Transportation.
How does Jacksonville’s local option gas tax compare to other counties?
Duval County is on the low end of the scale at this time. Out of 67 counties in Florida, 12 counties are at 6 cents per gallon and 31 counties are at the maximum 12 cents. Other counties are in between: 19 counties are at 7 cents, one county is at 9 cents, two counties are at 10 cents, and two counties are at 11 cents. For the Jacksonville metropolitan area, Nassau and Clay are at 12 cents, St. Johns is 6 cents and Baker County is at 7 cents.
How does Florida’s gas tax compare to other states?
The American Petroleum Institute’s tracking of taxes shows the combined federal, state and local impact puts Florida at the 9th highest in the nation. A USA Today analysis of state gas taxes in 2019 showed Florida in the 10th highest slot.
What about electric vehicle owners?
Plug-in vehicles are a growing share of the automobile market and those car owners obviously do not pay any gas taxes. Some studies have looked at moving toward a system where motorists are charged taxes based on actual miles driven, which would pick up electric-powered vehicles. In Jacksonville, electricity still comes with sales tax and franchise fee that consumers pay, so even through they don’t get charged for fuel at the pump, they still are contributing to government coffers when they plug in for battery charging.
How long would the local gas tax last?
The tax can be imposed for 30 years at a time. The current 6-cent gas tax is slated to end in 2036. The proposal would extend that portion of the local tax for another 10 years, and also enact an additional 6 cents for a 30-year period.