Gas tax increase adds to frustration for drivers

Nov. 2—Hoosiers began paying a little more in taxes for gasoline this week. An automatic increase of one-cent per gallon in state excise tax was added to a gallon of gasoline.

The increase was part of a law passed by the Indiana legislature in 2017 to stabilize funding for road repairs.

That increase though seemed to just blend into the frustration of drivers who are already struggling with gas prices that are averaging $3.80 per gallon in Indiana.

"I think gas prices are outrageous," said Ryan Downs. "I am to the point I don't pay attention anymore. What are you going to do. You have to get to work. You got to do what you've got to do so you just pay it at the pump."

"I think it's a little too high myself," added Jim Myers. "I am so busy at work putting in overtime just to pay bills and just afford gas to get to work. I live here in town, but I run all over town, because I do a lot of supply runs. A lot of my money goes for gas. Sometimes I just feel like I'm breaking even."

For some people the price at the pump is just something else they are getting hit with.

"Gasoline is like the price of everything. It just keeps going up and up," said Earl Norris.

"I think the price of gas right now is pretty decent. I wish it was a little bit lower. I drive an hour to work," said Ashley Estrada. "I have the money to pay for it, but I do wish it was cheaper."

At least one consumer was plenty willing to put the blame for higher gas prices at the feet of the current president.

"I think it's terrible. Biden should never have shut the pipeline down," said Glen Spaulding. "People say that doesn't have anything to do with it, and maybe it doesn't right now but in the long run you get that oil flowing and it makes a difference."

Gasoline prices have increased even though the U.S. is producing more oil domestically than it ever has. The Biden administration has released million of barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and is trying to pressure big oil companies to lower prices while they are reportedly making record profits.

The penny per gallon increase on taxes may not seem like much, but pennies add up. In Indiana people pay four taxes on each gallon of gas. They are a small federal tax for hazardous clean-up of 0.1 cent per gallon, a federal excise tax of 18.3 cents per gallon, a state excise tax of 33 cents per gallon and a state sales tax that rises each time the price of gasoline increases and now stands at 23.1 cents per gallon. That totals 74.5 cents per gallon.

"It's kind of a rip-off," said Estrada.

"I know that we are paying a lot on a gallon of gas, but 75 cents. Wow," said Norris. "There is nothing we can do about it. Unfortunately, we just have to go along with it."

And even though consumers may feel like the tax increases are inevitable there is still a sense of frustration that another penny was added when prices are already frustratingly high.

"Taxes go up all the time," said Spaulding. "Wow, that's not very good."

"I think it is ridiculous," said Myers. "How are you supposed to survive. It seems like you have to work to be broke anymore."