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Reality Check: Pumping Up The Gas Tax?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota drivers could see a spike at the pump this year.

State lawmakers are debating a plan by DFL Governor Tim Walz to raise the gas tax by 20-cents to fix roads.

But that's not the only tax hike drivers could face this year -- and that could be a concern for Minnesota drivers, who are a special breed.

You might say every Minnesota driver is a gas pump economist. We calculate prices so closely, we're known to drive a couple of blocks away to save pennies per gallon.

So raising Minnesota's 28-cent-a-gallon gas tax -- by 20 cents -- is a big deal.

"My initial reaction is, 'Oh, no! Not more money for gas!'" said driver Sandy Akabwai.

Winter Traffic
(credit: CBS)

Right now, Minnesota's gas tax ranks right in the middle: Number 28 in the country. It's on the low end of gas taxes in the Midwest. Raising it by 20-cents a gallon would move Minnesota to the top five in the nation, and cost the average driver $156 a year.

But that's not the whole story. It's not just the gas tax that might go up. The taxes on your new car may go up as well.

Gov. Walz is proposing to raise the vehicle registration tax, too, and the vehicle sales tax, and how much you pay for license tabs.

On a common Minnesota vehicle, like a $28,000 Ford F-150 truck, both the sales tax and the registration tax would jump about $105 each, according to the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association. That's a total of about $210 more in taxes per vehicle.

Also, license tab fees would stay higher for longer periods of time because the state wants to slow down the vehicle depreciation schedule.

The taxes and fees are part of a sweeping transportation fix from Gov. Walz.

"Minnesota's crumbling infrastructure is putting our safety at risk," Walz said when he prosed the tax hikes.

It's true. Civil engineers recently reported parts of Minnesota's transportation system are in "poor" condition. And any gas tax hike could only be used to fix roads and bridges, which the report graded "C" and "D+."

Last fall, a Star Tribune-Minnesota Poll found widespread support for a 10-cent gas tax hike. It was taken before the governor proposed raising it twice that amount.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

Infrastructure Report Card/Minnesota

Best/Worst States Transportation

How Long Since Your State Raised Its Gas Tax?

States With Variable Gas Tax Rate

History of MNDOT Gas Tax Increases


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