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Why is North Carolina’s gasoline tax so much higher than surrounding states?

Jason Gonzales
Gasoline pump

North Carolina drivers pay more for gasoline taxes at the pump than drivers in South Carolina. (StarNews file photo)

The North Carolina gas tax is higher than surrounding states because the tax is a percentage of the gas price per gallon. That means that, as gas prices flux, so does the gas tax price, according to AAA Carolinas spokesman Brendan Byrnes.

Rates can vary and are adjusted semiannually.

The state’s gas tax rose to record highs in January 2011 to 32.5 cents per gallon. The tax is automatically recalculated twice a year through a formula based in part on the wholesale price of gasoline, according to the Associated Press.

That amounts to North Carolinians paying much more than their South Carolina neighbors, who pay 16 cents per gallon in taxes.

North Carolina uses gas tax money to fund the N.C. Department of Transportation. The state has about 80,000 miles of roads that are overseen by the N.C. DOT. That is more roads than any other state and more than double the amount that the South Carolina DOT oversees, Byrnes said.

However, according to a 2009 study by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, North Carolina is below the national average in the percent of roads in good condition, but only slightly, with 49 percent of all state roads in good condition. The national average is 51 percent.

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2 Responses to “ Why is North Carolina’s gasoline tax so much higher than surrounding states?”

  1. On February 8, 2011 at 9:35 pm Kelley wrote:

    It would be interesting to learn what percentage of the gas tax is actually used for road repair and if any is reallocated to the general or other funds.

  2. On February 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm struggler wrote:

    Why is gas going up when they had stop production on it? And why is it going up and our pay checks are still the same? How can people manage when the cost of living is going up! Jobs aren’t trying to give raises. There trying to budget! On top of that there cutting back on lots of things! Like this system is making people struggle! We should have to pay for the states gas thats why they make so much! And get good benifits! Money is the route to all evil, can’t you’ll see that! Raise the money in the right places! Stop being selfish!

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