As of January 2015, gasoline taxes differ between states by as much as 40 cents per gallon. These differences are based on such factors as access to oil, debts, infrastructure and public sentiment.
Alaska has the lowest gas tax in the United States, in part because it derives revenue from oil production. Despite its 11.3 cent per gallon gas tax, it still has the second highest gas price due to oil market changes. Pennsylvania’s gas tax is 50.5 cents per gallon, making it the highest rate in the country. It also has the highest tax as a percentage of gas price at 21.3 percent.
New Jersey has the second lowest tax rate at 14.5 cents per gallon, and South Carolina has the third lowest at 16.8 cents. Although lower tax rates typically result in lower gas prices, New Jersey’s gas price is higher due to its law against self-service gas stations.
New York has the 3rd highest tax rate at 45.1 cents per gallon, and California has the 4th highest rate at 45.4 cents. New York residents carry a heavy state and local tax burden, which makes state lawmakers loathe to increase the state’s gas tax. California has the highest number of vehicles in the country driving its roadways, and a third of its bridges are structurally deficient. Both factors lend some justification to its high gas tax.