The Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association – the gas station and convenience store owners – believes the Legislature might raise the gasoline tax in order to fund a new capital construction program or as a revenue generator for the state. Executive director Bill Fleischli says there’s a better idea to help state coffers. "I would think you could have a tax reduction,” says Fleischli. “We did that in 2000 when we eliminated the sales tax. Volumes went up enormous; they went up over 150 percent on the border areas.”
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One gas station owner is seeing some business come in from Iowa. Curt Adams owns the Ayerco gas station chain with locations through Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri, and says his Illinois border gas stations are seeing more sales. “On March 1, 2015, Iowa its motor fuel tax by 10 cents a gallon. This put Illinois on more of a level playing field with Iowa gas prices. As a result, we’ve seen an increase in drivers filling up at our Illinois stations near the Iowa border,” he said.
Adams says he would hate to see lawmakers raise the gas tax and lose that newfound advantage.
Fleischli says if the state really wanted to build more roads, the governor wouldn’t have swept the state’s motor fuel tax fund.
A 2013 state audit indicated the state spent less than half of its road fund dollars on road construction costs in eight of the last 10 fiscal years. Fleischli says $1.2 billion in gas tax was paid in the last year.
Illinois tax on gasoline is 19 cents a gallon, a rate that was set in 1990.