W.Va. drivers to see lower gas tax in 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia drivers can expect to save a little more money on gas next year.

The gas tax for conventional motor fuels, which includes gasoline, kerosene and diesel, will decrease by 1.1 cents on Jan. 1, according to an administrative notice the department released Tuesday.

The state and federal government charge per-gallon taxes on fuel, which in turn generates revenue for state and federal highway funds. The state Tax Department is required by law to recalculate the average wholesale price of fuel in the state each year.

As a result of this year’s recalculation, consumers in West Virginia will go from paying 35.7 cents per gallon to 34.6 cents next year.

In addition, officials determined the new state average wholesale price was $2.819 per gallon. Last year it was $3.049 per gallon.

The motor fuel tax is composed of a flat rate of $0.205 per gallon plus a variable component of 5 percent for the average wholesale price of fuel.

The state’s variable component for 2015 is 14.1 cents per gallon, a decrease compared to last year’s 15.2 cents per gallon.

The decrease will save West Virginia drivers $15.7 million in 2015 compared to what they paid this year, says Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow.

“That’s good news to consumers, but a bit of a reduction to the state’s road fund,” he said.

The state’s road fund collections are estimated to be $701 million this fiscal year, with $431 million deriving from the motor fuel tax.

Muchow said the reduction in motor fuel tax will net an annual savings of nearly $9 for someone who drives 20,000 miles each year in a car that gets 25 mpg.

The state Tax Department’s announcement comes after the U.S. Energy Department said it expected the average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline to be $2.94 next year, due to falling oil prices.

“That means consumers will have additional funds for other needs,” he said. Muchow said that is good news with the holiday season already underway.

Contact writer Joel Ebert at 304-348-4843 or [email protected]. Follow him on twitter.com/joelebert29.

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