Gas prices aren’t getting any cheaper; in fact, they are only getting worse as motorists across Illinois have felt the sting of record high prices this week. According to AAA, as of May 12, the average price for a gallon of gas was at $4.80 in Illinois. In the city of Chicago, the average price for a gallon of gas is even higher — at $5.17. Those who drive diesel-fueled vehicles have it even worse and are paying $5.29 per gallon.
Despite these unprecedented prices that are doing harm to Illinois families, the state government seems to be content taking advantage of this crisis by gouging consumers of millions of dollars it never expected to receive, said Senator Sue Rezin who is calling for legislators to return to Springfield immediately to provide meaningful relief at the pump.
Before adjourning the spring session in early April, Senate Republicans called for a proposal that would cap the state’s sales tax on gas, saving consumers up to 16 cents per gallon. Unfortunately, Governor Pritzker and Democratic legislators had something else in mind and passed a law that would simply delay an automatic two cent increase to the state’s Motor Fuel Tax until after the election in January 2023 instead of in July 2022.
While the Governor is touting this as relief, Sen. Rezin is warning consumers to keep in mind that this isn’t relief at all, and they will be paying the same price in July that they are now. Additionally, they will now be hit with two increases in 2023—one in January and another one in July.
Sen. Rezin says that the General Assembly should reconvene for special session to repeal the Governor’s two-cent election-year gimmick and pass Senate Bill 4195, which caps the sales tax at 18 cents per gallon, which is more in line with what motorists were paying before gas prices skyrocketed earlier this year.
Illinois is one of just seven states that charge a sales tax on top of the motor fuel tax. While both the state and federal gas taxes are a flat tax, which means the tax does not change with price of fuel, Illinois also charges a sales tax (6.25 percent) on top of the motor fuel tax, which means as gas prices go up, so does the amount of money the state receives.