A 10-cent gas tax increase was passed by the Alabama legislature on March 12 and will begin rolling out on August 31.
Although this is the first Alabama gas tax increase since 1992, Alabamians will be shelling out between $1 and $4 extra to fill up most vehicles after the tax comes into full effect in 2021.
As of Aug. 31, 2019, Alabama taxes on gasoline and diesel will be raised 6 cents from the 1992-standard 18 cents per gallon to 24 cents per gallon. In 2020 and 2021, the taxes will be raised 2 cents per year to become 28 cents per gallon.
The tax also includes a $200 annual registration fee for electric vehicles and a $100 annual fee for plug-in hybrid vehicles.
The funds will be used for “improving and maintaining the transportation infrastructure of the state, its counties and municipalities, and the Alabama State Port Authority,” according to a proclamation from Governor Kay Ivey.
“It’s time to make our crumbling infrastructure system a problem of the past,” said Ivey.
The tax is expected to bring about $300 million to the state each year. The revenue will be split between the Alabama Department of Transportation and counties and municipalities throughout the state.
Although this tax may mean higher costs at the pump, some say that it could save drivers money in the long run.
Matthew Stokes, a columnist for Alabama Daily News, wrote that the improved roads would decrease spending on automotive repairs and maintenance; however, he also recognized that these costs and savings would differ for each driver.
Alfonzo Johnson, a junior history education major from Wetumpka, said he agreed with Stokes’ opinion.
“I think the gas tax will be great for the state of Alabama,” Johnson said. “We have a lot of needs in terms of fixing our roads.
“I travel around the state a lot and there are roads that seriously need extra lanes or repavement. I can’t tell you how many new tires I have had to get because of potholes on (U.S. Highway) 231 North heading towards Montgomery and Wetumpka.”
Not all students agree with Stokes and Johnson.
Johnathan Welch, a senior history education major from Monroeville, said he was worried about Troy students with long commutes being charged more for gas, and the state would benefit more from a lottery tax.
“Where I am from has terrible roads and will never see a dime of (the gas tax revenue),” Welch said. “(The state) will continue to work on I-65 every spring and fall, spending our tax money.
“A lottery will help Alabama out tremendously. We will have better roads, better education and better morale. Every state around Alabama has a lottery, and the state is losing money from it.”
Students wanting to find the best gas prices can look on Google Maps or visit GasBuddy.com.
Editors Note: The graphic on the print version of this story has the highway listed as Hwy 21 instead of Hwy 231. This has since been updated on the online.