High gas prices can put a damper on vacations and road trips, and high gas taxes can make filling up feel even more painful. Unfortunately, some states have very high gas taxes. But, the good news is that if you know which ones they are, you can try to plan your gas stops accordingly.
The federal gas tax isn’t too bad at $0.183 per gallon, but these states charge more than twice that amount. Diesel taxes aren’t much better. The federal tax on diesel fuel is $0.243 per gallon, but diesel taxes on this list range from $0.372 to $0.88. So, if filling up can wait until you cross state lines, it might be worth it.
Here are 10 states to avoid getting gas in (if possible).
(Note: State or local sales taxes may not be included in the gas tax totals listed.)
[Gas and diesel tax prices are based on data from the Federation of Tax Administrators and the Tax Policy Center. This data reflects prices accurate as of January, 2023.]
10. West Virginia Gas Tax
Gas tax total: $0.372 per gallon of gasoline
Excise tax on gas in West Virginia is only $0.205 per gallon, but the state tacks on an additional $0.167 in extra taxes and fees, bringing the total to $0.372. On the bright side, West Virginia doesn't tax diesel fuel any higher than gasoline. So, if you need diesel fuel, you can expect to pay the regular gas tax of $0.372.
West Virginia isn't a large state, so you might make it across state lines before you need to fill up. If you're headed to Kentucky or Virginia, you'll pay lower gas taxes, but gas taxes in northern bordering states are even higher.
9. Oregon Gas Tax
Gas tax total: $0.38 per gallon of gasoline
Oregon taxes gasoline slightly higher than West Virginia does. At a tax rate of $0.38 per gallon, filling up in Oregon is less than ideal. On the bright side, the state doesn't tax diesel fuel at a higher rate like many other states do. So, if you need diesel, you can expect to pay the same rate of $0.38.
If you do need to get gas in Oregon, you can avoid paying tax on any snacks you purchase afterward. Oregon is a state with no sales tax.
8. Ohio Gas Tax
Gas tax total: $0.385 per gallon of gasoline
Gas taxes climb closer to $0.40 in Ohio. State excise tax is $0.385. Gasohol taxes are the same. But, if you want diesel fuel, be prepared to pay more. Taxes jump all the way to $0.47 on diesel.
Unfortunately, most of the states that border Ohio also have some of the highest gas taxes in the country, but you're in luck if Michigan is your next stop. You'll find gas taxes nearly $0.10 lower when you fill up in Michigan.
7. North Carolina Gas Tax
Gas tax total: $0.408 per gallon of gasoline
Excise tax on gasoline in North Carolina is $0.405. The state adds a modest $0.003 in additional taxes and fees, resulting in a total tax of $0.408 on each gallon of gas you purchase. Drivers with diesel-powered vehicles catch a small break by paying the same tax rate of $0.408.
6. New Jersey Gas Tax
Gas tax total: $0.414 per gallon of gasoline
Excise tax on gasoline is surprisingly low in New Jersey at only $0.105 per gallon, but the extra taxes and fees of $0.309 land it spot #6 on this list of the highest gas taxes. Diesel taxes are more expensive, but the excise tax on diesel fuel is a low $0.135 per gallon. Additional taxes and fees of $0.349 make the total state diesel tax $0.484.
4. Illinois Gax Tax
Gas tax total: $0.454 per gallon of gasoline
Illinois has a high state gas tax of $0.454 (effective July 1). Diesel fuel is worse at $0.529 (effective July 1).
And stocking up on snacks for the road probably isn't the greatest idea in Illinois, either. The state has one of the highest sales tax rates in the county.
5. Maryland Gas Tax
Gas tax total: $0.47 per gallon of gasoline
Diesel taxes are more expensive, too Filling your tank with diesel will cost you $0.4775 in taxes when you pump in the state of Maryland.
3. Washington Gas Tax
Gas tax total: $0.494 per gallon of gasoline
Gas tax in Washington hits nearly $0.50. At a whopping $0.494, it has the third highest gas tax in the U.S. Drivers with diesel-fueled trucks might rejoice at paying the same $0.494 per gallon, but in reality, no drivers win when filling their tanks in Washington.
Sales tax is also high in Washington, so grabbing fast food will cost you even more. However, you can enjoy no sales tax if you stop at the grocery store since groceries are tax-exempt in Washington.
2. Pennsylvania Gas Tax
Gas tax total: $0.576 per gallon of gasoline
Gas tax in Pennsylvania rises above $0.50. At $0.576 per gallon, the state earns the #2 spot on this list. There's no relief for diesel truck drivers, either. Tax on diesel fuel is $0.741.
Pennsylvania is a big state, so you might need to get gas before you cross state lines. Neighboring states like New York, New Jersey, and Maryland have fairly high gas taxes, too, but at least they are less expensive than Pennsylvania's.
1. California Gax Tax
Gas tax total: $0.629 per gallon of gasoline
California's excise tax on gasoline is $0.539, which is already high. But when you add the extra $0.09 in other taxes and fees, it's the most expensive in the country. Diesel taxes are even worse in California, totaling $0.88 when considering excise tax and other fees.
Given the high gas taxes, it's no surprise that California has more EV drivers than any other state. California has the highest statewide sales tax rate, too. So, it's nearly impossible to avoid paying high taxes when visiting the state, whether or not you drive an electric vehicle.
Katelyn has more than 6 years’ experience working in tax and finance. While she specializes in tax content, Katelyn has also written for digital publications on topics including insurance, retirement and financial planning and has had financial advice commissioned by national print publications. She believes that knowledge is the key to success and enjoys helping others reach their goals by providing content that educates and informs.
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