A bill proposed on Wednesday would ban automatic increases in excise taxes on gas and diesel.
Behind the bill to reduce excise tax rates to the amounts collected on December 31st is Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Wayne Langerholc, R-Cambria.
It is proposed to set the average wholesale price permanently at $2.99 per gallon.
Since 2013, state taxes have automatically increased when the average fuel price exceeds $2.99 per gallon. The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has determined that the state average has exceeded that amount over the past year, resulting in a substantial tax increase.
On January 1, the gas tax rate in Pennsylvania increased from 57.6 cents to 61.1 cents per gallon. The tariff for diesel fuel increased from 74.1 cents to 78.5 cents. Langerholc said these changes would end to automatic tax increases.
“My legislation will cut the gas tax before hardworking families must pay the second highest gas tax in the nation,” Langerholc said in a news release. “At a time when our constituents are faced with rising costs at the pump, grocery store and utility bills, no elected official should be voting against this legislation.”
Critics point out that the state Department of Transportation has a funding shortfall of nearly $10 billion to build roads and bridges. They say the tax cuts will cause the state to lose $225 million.
The bill was approved by the Senate Transportation and Appropriations committees earlier in the week and now it goes to the House.