Gasoline and diesel pump prices did not change much on Friday in Missouri, despite being the first day of a 2.5-cent-per-gallon fuel tax increase of State.
The state’s cheapest gasoline was $ 2.49 a gallon in Springfield, according to GasBuddy.com. It was unchanged from the start of the week. The most expensive, Missouri AAA Reports, is in Knox County, where the average price is over $ 3. Across the state, motorists were paying an average of $ 2.88 a gallon to refuel on Friday.
And for many motorists, it’s that price at the pump – up more than $ 1 since the end of last year – that matters. Many were unaware the tax had increased, and some said they were unaware that lawmakers included a way to get a refund of the new tax.
Crystal Lander, refueling at a convenience store near Interstate 70 in Columbia, said she was unlikely to do the work necessary to claim her refund. It doesn’t collect receipts for its fuel purchases and said tracking its fuel consumption, even when the progressive tax added 12.5 cents per gallon, wouldn’t be worth it.
“It doesn’t really kill the wallet,” she said.
When lawmakers voted for the increase in May, it was the first time the General Assembly passed a tax increase of any kind since 1993 without submitting it to voters for approval. The last fuel tax increase took place in 1996 when the third phase of a 1992 law entered into force.
The fuel tax, previously 17.4 cents per gallon on gasoline and diesel, is 19.9 cents per gallon on Friday.
Additional increases are scheduled for July 1 of each year until the tax reaches 29.9 cents per gallon on July 1, 2025.
Motorists asked about the tax as they filled their vehicles on Friday said they would be happy to forgo a refund in exchange for better roads.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” said Tom Heintz of Columbia.
The legislation, which also includes increased charges for alternative fuel vehicles, will, before reimbursements are calculated, will raise around $ 1.8 billion over the next five years, including $ 1.3 billion for highways. state and $ 500 million for city and county governments to build and repair their roads. .
An idea on the board for a decade is to widen Interstate 70 to three lanes in each direction.
“Oh my God, yes I do,” Heintz said. “I don’t go on I-70 very often if I can avoid it.”
The refund provision was included in the bill to appease the Conservatives who oppose any tax increase that is not approved by voters. It only applies to the new tax.
To get the refund, motorists must make a claim every year between July 1 and September 30. The claim must include the number of gallons purchased for each vehicle operated by the family or business that owns it.
Receipts to prove the claim must show the name and address of the retailer, the price paid for the fuel, the total number of gallons pumped and show that payment was made at the time of purchase.
Reimbursement is not available for companies operating trucks with a rated capacity of over 26,000 pounds, meaning long-haul tractor-trailer operators will not be eligible.
“We have supported this provision,” said Tom Crawford, president of the Missouri Trucking Association. “When we passed this bill through the legislature, our group was saying to exclude diesel altogether.”
Under the International Fuel Tax Agreement, long-haul trucks don’t get a cost advantage by purchasing fuel in low-tax states like Missouri. Truckers are required to report mileage driven in each state or province in Canada. The taxes they pay when purchasing fuel entitle them to a tax credit on the fuel consumed in a particular state or province.
Trucks that buy fuel in low tax states but travel to high tax states owe money when they file their tax returns. Trucks that purchase fuel in heavily taxed states and pass through low tax states can end each reporting period with a credit to their account.
“It was painful, but it works and we have been working for about 30 years,” Crawford said. “My argument for raising fuel taxes was that whatever we had to do (to meet constitutional tax limits), do it, but our tax is so low that it drives out fuel purchases.” out of state because (the trucking companies) couldn’t get enough in their accounts to drive out of state.
Only Alaska had a lower fuel tax than Missouri before the increase. The average for the eight surrounding states is 30 cents per gallon, with the highest in Illinois at 59.56 cents per gallon. The federal tax is 18.3 cents per gallon for gasoline and 24.3 cents per gallon for diesel.
The limit was set at 26,000 pounds because trucks smaller than that are primarily used for local and regional deliveries, Crawford said.
Exactly what the Department of Revenue will require for motorists who wish to claim the rebate is uncertain as the forms have not been created. A question and answer page on the ministry’s website says the forms will be available before the first applications are authorized on July 1.
The amount of any reimbursement for a motorist who only owns one or two vehicles is likely to be less than the cost of a full tank. A motorist who travels 10,000 miles in a vehicle that consumes an average of 25 mpg will use 400 gallons of fuel in a year.
That’s $ 10 a year for every 2.5 cents of tax increase.
When told this calculation, the reaction of motorists on Friday was mixed. Stephen Chadwell of Columbia, who was unaware of the tax increase or refund, said he would keep his receipts.
“I think for $ 10 it might be worth it,” Chadwell said. “Ten dollars is 10 dollars.”
The financial estimate prepared for the bill estimated that refunds could be as little as 15 percent of the tax collected or most of it. If 15% is refunded, that will reduce revenue by about $ 175 million in the first five years of the tax.
For Jim Rolling, a resident of Colombia, who was familiar with both the tax increase and the refund provision, tracking purchases and keeping records to make a claim is too complicated. He said a friend he had discussed the tax with had pledged to ask for every dollar in refund.
“I’m all about $ 10,” Roling said, “but I’m not going to keep the receipts for a year.”