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Changes To State Tax Bring Higher Gas Prices

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WILKES-BARRE — The first day of the new year means higher prices at the pump.  Changes to the state tax on gas kicked in at midnight.

Some drivers say they don’t mind paying more for fuel so the state can repair rough roads.

Some people spending the first day of 2014 on the road say the hot topic during the car ride has been gas prices going up overnight.

“They’re absolutely horrible. I think something should have been done years ago instead of suddenly raising all these taxes on the gas prices,” said Lynn Rotzell of Allentown.

During a stop to fill her car’s tank at Sheetz on Route 309 in Wilkes-Barre, Rotzell says she’s surprised to see gas prices up to $3.59 a gallon because the state’s comprehensive transportation bill kicked in at midnight.

To raise an estimated $2.3 billion over the next five years, lawmakers voted to eliminate the flat retail gas tax and uncap the wholesale tax for fuel distributors who then may pass on the increase to drivers.

For 2014, that means an extra dime in taxes for every gallon of gas.

By 2018, it will be an additional 28 cents.

Peter Pugh of Virginia says he was surprised to see the price jump as he spends the holiday driving across the commonwealth.

“I’d say about 20 cents or so, not entirely sure.”

Some other drivers tell us that they have budgeted for higher prices at the gas pumps in the new year, and they don’t mind as long as those funds are used to fix rough roads and bridges.

“It’s bigger than what we expected, but then again it’s not a surprise because it’s become status quo. That’s what it is. It’s going to happen sooner or later. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,” said Charley Flannery of Wilkes-Barre.

The governor’s office says the taxes collected through this new law will go to help pay for paving projects, replacing dangerous bridges, and creating new construction jobs.



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