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What do gasoline taxes pay for?

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Quick Answer

As of 2015 the federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents per gallon is split between the Highway Trust Fund's Highway Account and Mass Transit Account and the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund, according to the Federal Highway Administration. One-tenth of 1 cent is dedicated to the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund, 15.44 cents are directed to the Highway Account and 2.86 cents go to the Mass Transit Account.

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Full Answer

The federal gasoline tax was raised from 14.1 cents per gallon to the current rate of 18.4 cents in 1993, states the Federal Highway Administration. The increase initially was dedicated to deficit reduction and only redirected to transportation-related expenses in 1997.

The Highway Trust Fund is a federal account intended to finance the highway system that originates from the 1956 Interstate System's inception, reports the Federal Highway Administration. The account is set up to pay only those expenses that can be covered by the balance of the account. In 1983, Congress created the Mass Transit Account and dedicated 1 cent to that account, according to Kiplinger.

The small portion of the gasoline tax to the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to the EPA website. The Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund is used to fund inspections, to prevent spills and leaks of petroleum products, and to pay for cleanups when necessary.

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