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W.VA. gas tax to drop 1 cent beginning Jan. 1

By Fred Pace

The Herald Dispatch

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Drivers in the Mountain State will pay a penny less tax on a gallon of motor fuel in 2017, according to data released this week by the West Virginia State Tax Department.

The state tax imposed on a gallon of motor fuel will drop from 33.2 cents to 32.2 cents as of Sunday, Jan. 1. This will mark the third consecutive year for a decrease in West Virginia’s motor fuel tax following a peak rate of 35.7 cents per gallon in 2014, according to a release.

The decline will mean a savings of $28 for the year for someone driving 20,000 miles with fuel efficiency of 25 miles per gallon. The decrease also means that the state’s Road Fund will receive about $49 million less than it would if the tax remained the same, according to the Tax Department.

“The state’s tax rate will be less than 2 cents per gallon above the weighted national average as determined by the American Petroleum Institute,” the release stated.

Simply speaking, West Virginia’s gas tax goes up or down each year based on whether fuel prices have risen or dropped. For a detailed look at the administrative notice that sets the determination of the average wholesale price of conventional motor fuels and alternative motor fuels for the 2017 calendar year, visit the West Virginia Tax Department’s website at http://tax.wv.gov/Documents/AdministrativeNotices/2016/AdministrativeNotice.2016-27.pdf.

Motorists in nine states will see changes in gas taxes at the pump on New Year’s Day, and more than a dozen states will examine adjustments in 2017.

Pennsylvania already has the largest state gas tax in the country, at 50.4 cents per gallon, according to the Tax Foundation. The rate will rise 7.9 cents per gallon with the new year, based on a 2013 law.

The other big increase is in Michigan, where the gas tax is already 30.54 cents per gallon, according to the foundation. That rate will rise 7.3 cents per gallon, based on a 2015 law.

Alaska hasn’t raised its gas tax since 1970 and has the lowest rate in the country, according to the Tax Foundation. But Gov. Bill Walker proposed Dec. 15 to triple the gas tax over the next two years as part of his budget. The current rate of 8 cents per gallon would double on July 1, 2017, and add another 8 cents per gallon on July 1, 2018, if the proposal is approved.

There is no change in Ohio’s gasoline tax, which still stands at 28 cents a gallon, and no change in Kentucky, which stands at 26 cents a gallon, according to the foundation.

Apart from any state gas taxes, the federal government levies a gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon. That rate has not been increased since 1993.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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