taxes

Wyoming fuel tax hike kicks in

2013-07-01T06:00:00Z 2013-12-23T20:36:17Z Wyoming fuel tax hike kicks inBy JOAN BARRON Star-Tribune capital bureau Casper Star-Tribune Online

CHEYENNE — If the price at the pump is a bit higher today than Sunday, it’s because the 10-cent increase in the state fuel tax has kicked in.

The tax officially jumped from 14 to 24 cents per gallon as of midnight. It’s the first hike authorized by the Wyoming Legislature since 1998.

The increased levy is expected to generate $71.8 million per year for state and local roads despite falling far short of the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s estimated construction and maintenance needs. Still, agency officials say any increase in funding helps.

The higher tax has been estimated to cost each family in the state $114 per year.

Although it may not mollify unhappy motorists at the pumps, the increase may not be as high as 10 cents.

State Rep. Mike Madden, R-Buffalo, an economist and supporter of the higher tax, said that while motorists will see a bump up in the cost for gasoline and diesel, it is more likely to be five or six cents.

“The old-timers around here say that when the state raised it from 9 to 14 cents, the price per gallon jumped by a nickel and then it went right back down to where it was,” Madden said Thursday.

“It’s hard to predict. It depends on what the marketers do,” he added.

Gasoline prices are now about $3.25 per gallon. They were about $1 per gallon when the tax was raised 15 years ago.

“It’s not a tax-driven price any more. It is determined by the refineries,” Madden said.

“People have to understand that there is no such thing as a Wyoming fuel market. It’s a regional market,” he added.

Of the 245 companies that supply fuel to Wyoming retailers, only 51 have a Wyoming address. The suppliers set the price at the start of the month for Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska at the same time.

Madden said friends in South Dakota say Wyoming’s tax increase will mean a boost of a few cents.

Meanwhile, WYDOT is working on a list of projects.

The department earlier established a separate account in the state Auditor’s Office for the money from the tax hike. The purpose is transparency — to ensure that the money is spent on highways, as the Legislature intended.

“What we’re doing is ensuring that all of the fuels tax will be targeted at pavement preservation,” said Gregg Fredrick, WYDOT assistant chief engineer for engineering and planning.

The preservation work, he said, will extend the roadway surface life by sealing cracks on existing roadways and adding additional pavement on top, for example.

The work also may be “more robust rehabilitation,” such as removing part of the roadway and installing a thicker driving surface.

The department examines the condition of the roadways each year and the deterioration rate.

An asset management system identifies the costs and benefits for the best method to extend the lives of the roadways.

The additional tax money will be spent on these type of projects statewide, he said.

Contact capital bureau reporter Joan Barron at 307-632-1244 or joan.barron@trib.com.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(20) Comments

  1. Sassy
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    Sassy - July 05, 2013 6:41 am
    Humored- Lubnau really said that??
  2. pappy
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    pappy - July 03, 2013 9:41 am
    Yesterday the Reason foundation released it's rankings of the quality of state highways. Wyoming ranked 3rd. I don't think that was the information we heard during the legislative session. I don't doubt WYDOT needs some extra money because of the increased cost of oil. But be honest with the voters about the quality of our highways. I have driven through many states in the last couple of years and wouldn't disagree at all with the Reason Foundation Report. It would have been nice if legislators and WYDOT had said this and let the voters decide do we want to maintain our highways at current levels, drop to #5 or #10 or #25. What is reasonable. Why didn't the CST tribune publish the results of the Reason report? It was reported by the Billlings Gazette their sister paper, so they can't say they didn't know.
  3. Sassy
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    Sassy - July 03, 2013 5:43 am
    Apparently the Wyoming Taxpayers Association were brainwashed along with the Legislators.
    http://www.wyotax.org/_pdfs/2012/October%202012/Fuel%20Tax%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

    ".... If Wyoming’s fuel tax
    is increased to make us equal
    to the surrounding states, prices at the pump will not automatically increase by ten
    cents—they will continue to
    fluctuate as they already do..."

    Can I have some more Kool Aid please.................

  4. humored
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    humored - July 02, 2013 5:41 pm
    Now the Wyoming Department Of Transportation can sponsor more events. Always seems ironic to hear a University Of Wyoming athletics radio broadcasting with a "brought to you by the Wyoming Department Of Transportation. Ironic listening to politicians cry about budget woes and government is sponsoring events while running low on cash.

    Lubnau and the bunch are very typical big business politicians. I remember him calling in to a radio talk show while he was in China. He was envious of how their government worked. He commented to the effect "it's so much easier to get things done when the government has less obstacles".
  5. Sassy
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    Sassy - July 02, 2013 3:57 pm
    Brian-you pay to play...
  6. brianvmax
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    brianvmax - July 02, 2013 12:19 pm
    So i pay at the pump plus pay to get in the park, we have to buy sticker's for our snowmobiles but now we get to pay more to fuel them also, wow-nothing like getting to pay twice, love how it will all be for road construction.
  7. Sassy
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    Sassy - July 02, 2013 12:11 pm
    Brian-- you are absolutely correct state parks gets a chunk
  8. pappy
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    pappy - July 02, 2013 11:32 am
    Hooray Rep. Madden and House Speaker Lubnau your phoney economics failed once again. I guess we do have a tax drive system, at least in the Bighorn Basin as every town I've been in went up a dime on the July 1. Perhaps they will make up the difference to the taxpayers in what they predicted and what happened. I think the only people who believed you were other legislators and the special interest groups that took it up.
  9. motoboy
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    motoboy - July 02, 2013 11:32 am
    Heavy, multiple-trailer trucks are wrecking our highways, and the Governor just shifted the burden to the taxpayers.
  10. brianvmax
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    brianvmax - July 02, 2013 10:50 am
    Station off wy blvd was $3.40 this morning, bump didnt take long, I just laugh when they forecast money, people will cut back just like they do when water rates etc.. are raised.
    But I'm confused, pretty sure there was money for state park's and snowmobile grooming in the final draft?
  11. DK
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    DK - July 02, 2013 5:35 am
    Just one more reason to spend my money in Montana. Don't worry folks, the tourists will make up the difference.
  12. supercelifragilistic
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    supercelifragilistic - July 01, 2013 10:35 am
    HarlyD, the $.10/gallon - to me - really isn't that bad, unless WyDOT doesn't do their job like is obvious in Riverton. Then I'll get on my legislator and senator's case for that waste.
    Yeah, enjoy your {apparent} limited travel this summer.
  13. HarlyD
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    HarlyD - July 01, 2013 9:08 am
    Super, Just came tthrough Riverton last week and you are right, pretty bad! Although the only attraction in Riverton to me is the casino, which I go to 3 times a year, not a big gambler and don't spend much. Go to Thermopolis 4 times a year, Have family there. And Pinedale 4 or 5 times a year have some property there.

    My whole point was that everyone is going to suffer and will WyDOT really gain, fuel goes up travel goes down, things get more expensive. Just a BS cycle .

    You and Wyoming have a great day.
  14. supercelifragilistic
    Report Abuse
    supercelifragilistic - July 01, 2013 8:11 am
    HarlyD, if I may?
    Speaking of Riverton - their streets are breaking up - I can see more money put there. Its called Federal Blvd, the one that goes from the north to the south - I'd never seen "pot holes" in concrete before, but they sure have them.
    I'd pay the extra $.10/gallon to see those pot holes fix or Federal rebuilt, problem is, I haven't heard WyDOT mention fixing that main main drag through Riverton. Not sure if WyDOT forgot Riverton - or if Riverton is the bottom of the WyDOT list of fund-chain?

    I can live without Thermopolis and Pinedale but, Riverton is out the question. Especially during Riverton's two weeks July celebration and the Casino. What an awesome time there.
    Every-time we go to Riverton, we have to brace ourselves for another "gauntlet ride" over that concrete street. I think the WyDOT needs to quit getting so cheap with tax payers money and fix those streets better than that.

    Yeah, the extra $.10/gallon sucks ... no if, and or buts about it.
  15. side oiler
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    side oiler - July 01, 2013 7:47 am
    And everything else will go up as well.
  16. side oiler
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    side oiler - July 01, 2013 7:47 am
    "Gasoline prices are now about $3.25 per gallon...." better look around somewhere besides the usual cheaper towns for gas prices.Any town along the border with Montana is a lot higher for fuel.As for taxes...never saw a tax a RINO did not like.
  17. HarlyD
    Report Abuse
    HarlyD - July 01, 2013 7:43 am
    I'm glad the DOT firgured out how much more a year it will cost me, makes it easy I'll just cancel 1 trip to Thermopolis, 1 trip to the casino in Riverton and 1 trip to Pinedale. That should make up for well over that estimated extra 114.00. It's a win, win right? I save on fuel and the money that I would have spent in the above towns and the DOT saves on that extra wear and tear on those highways I won't be using. Talk about cut your nose off dispite your face.
  18. perplexedjohn
    Report Abuse
    perplexedjohn - July 01, 2013 7:14 am
    Besides being able to send four DOT (workers) out to set a post we are now getting a 150,000 dollar walking path in wheatland that nobody will use
  19. thehousemouse
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    thehousemouse - July 01, 2013 6:38 am
    well it certainly will most likely hit the tourist industry and the trucking industry.
  20. Sassy
    Report Abuse
    Sassy - July 01, 2013 6:25 am
    I'm really happy State Parks gets some of this money to squander ....
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