MOUNT VERNON — Taxpayers in the state of Ohio currently pay an 18.4 cents per gallon gasoline tax. Of this money collected, 62.58 percent goes to the Ohio Department of Transportation for maintenance of roads and bridges. Cities receive 10.41 percent of the funds, counties 9.25 percent and townships 4.83 percent.
On top of the state gas tax is a U.S. gas tax, currently at 28 cents per gallon, making Ohio’s drivers’ total tax at 46.4 cents. Connecticut has the highest total gas tax in the nation at 68 cents per gallon. Coming in with the lowest rate is Alaska at 26.4 cents per gallon. The national average is 48.9 cents per gallon.
Money from the U.S. gas tax can be used for various transportation projects, enhancements, bike trails, sign maintenance and interstate construction.
The Ohio state tax rate of 18.4 cents per gallon has been in effect for a number of years, according to Knox County Engineer Jim Henry. It can be changed only through state legislation. For those traveling out of state, the tax goes to where the gas is purchased, not according to where you live.
Henry said there are a number of considerations being looked at for alternative revenue streams. “The gas tax is per gallon. And with the price of gas, people are driving less, so the four entities are getting less. So that is a pressure on the revenue stream,” said Henry. Other issues Henry addressed are that the production of alternative fuels is being encouraged by the government, but they are not taxed. Another push is the manufacture of more efficient vehicles which use less fuel.
“So with all these things squeezing the revenue stream, [county engineers associations] are looking at alternative revenue streams,” said Henry. “We really need to look at something that is kind of a cover-all. If we would look at something that could charge by per mile driven, regardless of what fuel you used, I think that could do it.” Henry explained that a project is being studied in Minnesota where a charge per mile is being assessed by the use of a global positioning system device.