The dismal news, already familiar to many motorists, was made official by the American Automobile Association (AAA) in their ongoing gas prices survey of the 50 states. Illinois joined ten other states this month with gas prices above $5.00/gallon including Arizona, California, and Michigan. Motor fuel was slightly cheaper in the U.S. Southern states, but could not be bought for less than $4.25 a gallon anywhere. High prices for crude oil, and surging motorist demand in the traditional summer driving season, were blamed for the high gas prices.
The cost of gas is even higher within the Chicago metro area. State law allows the Chicago-area mass transit agency, most Chicago-area counties, Cook County, and the City of Chicago to levy additional taxes on gasoline.
The General Assembly could provide more relief to Illinoisans this year through the enactment of House Bill 5723, a bill to end the practice of charging ever-higher sales taxes on motor fuel as the price goes up. Charging a percentage sales tax has meant a massive windfall for Illinois government at the expense of residents as gas prices have dramatically increased. HB 5723, was introduced this spring and has more than 40 bipartisan co-sponsors, myself included, and puts a stop to this windfall by freezing the sales tax on gas at 18 cents a gallon. Unfortunately, the bill was bottled up in the Democrat-controlled House Rules Committee and never received a vote. If the General Assembly returns for a Special Session this summer, you can bet we’ll be demanding action on this legislation to provide more relief for families and small businesses.