New Hampshire motorists decry hike in fuel tax
The increase - the first since 1991 - hikes the state's fuel tax rate by 4.2 cents, to 22.2 cents a gallon. The tax is forecast by state economists to raise an estimated $32 million annually - about $588 million over 20 years - for transportation work. But Granite Staters prepping to head out on the highways say the hike couldn't come at a worse time.
On Friday, the website NewHampshiregasprices.com listed the highest reported price for regular unleaded in the state as $3.95 a gallon at the Irving station on Whitefield Road in Twin Mountain. The lowest, according to the website, was $3.41 a gallon at the Tony the Tiger station on Webster Street in Manchester.
The summer season accounts for 40 percent of tourist visits and spending in New Hampshire.
"This is very frustrating for the very many people driving on summer road trips," said Patrick Moody, spokesman for the American Automobile Association Northern New England. "AAA expects the majority of U.S. drivers likely will pay the highest gas prices for Independence Day since 2008. Today's national average price of gas is about 20 cents per gallon more expensive than the average on July 4, 2013, which was $3.48 per gallon. In recent years, gas prices have declined in the weeks leading up to Independence Day, but this has not occurred this summer due to high crude oil costs resulting from violence in Iraq."
Moody would not speculate whether the higher gas tax specifically would result in fewer cars on the road next weekend, but said higher prices at the pump could affect the amount of money travelers spend here.
The tax increase is scheduled to be repealed once the bonds for the I-93 project are paid off - an estimated 20 years from now.
"As the summer driving season drives up the cost of gas and diesel, this couldn't have come at a worse time," Greg Moore, Americans For Prosperity-New Hampshire state director, said in a statement.
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