Gasoline taxes set to rise in NC

December 21, 2011 3:51:27 PM PST
Just when gas prices seem to be a little lower, and holding steady, they will soon rise again.

This time, however, the oil industry isn't to blame. It's the state tax that's increasing by nearly four cents on January 1.

Many drivers aren't happy about the news.

"Economy's down - people need help from the government instead of being taxed more," offered motorist Kellum Bernard.

Bernard is a surveyor from Wake Forest who has to have a truck to carry his gear - a truck that gets 14 miles to the gallon. He said he's upset that an attempt to cap the tax at 38 cents failed in the General Assembly and now the rate will exceed that proposed cap.

When that new tax takes effect, North Carolina's tax rate will be the sixth highest in the nation - almost 40 cents a gallon.

That's why Bernard, who often travels out of state, does what most motorists do - avoid buying gas in North Carolina.

"If I go through South Carolina or through Tennessee, I try not to buy gas in North Carolina. I'll wait until it's cheaper in the other states," he explained.

With South Carolina's tax rate 22 cents cheaper, and Virginia's 19 cents less, the head of the association representing gas stations and convenience stores said the increase could actually hurt both sales tax and gas tax revenue.

"They don't stop and buy food. They don't stay in our motels or hotels. They don't shop in our convenience stores," explained Gary Harris with NC Petroleum Marketers.

Some convenience stores are already posting signs asking customers to call their legislators and urge them to once again try to pass a gas tax cap.

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