How would a gas tax impact you? This interactive gas tax calculator is designed to help you calculate what a gas tax increase might mean for your monthly gas costs. A modest increase per driver could mean a major decrease in your commute times. Test it out below! For mobile use please click here.
What’s the cost for a gas tax increase?
In October 2019, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce outlined the need for transportation revenue and proposed options for generating it, including a gas tax increase of 5 cents each year for three years. In Massachusetts, a 5-cent gas tax increase would amount to an average of $2.17 per passenger vehicle per month in additional costs, based on a conservative fuel efficiency assumption of 20 miles per gallon. Increasing the gas tax by five cents per year for three years would result in a total average additional monthly cost of $6.50 per vehicle by year three. The gas tax calculator lets individuals see the impact based on their situation.
While the gas tax has increased by just three cents since 1991 and lagged inflation, fares for public transit – the most affordable option for low- and moderate- income residents, and in some cases, the only option – have outpaced inflation. The MBTA combined bus and subway monthly pass increased by $15 over the most recent three-year period, rising from $75 in 2016 to $90 in 2019. Commuter rail fares rose by upwards of $60 in some zones during the same time frame. Meanwhile, the state’s busiest regional transit authority (RTA), the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, in 2018 increased monthly passes by $9 from $45 to $54.
While the impacts of a gas tax increase are generally modest, there are some areas that rely more on driving or those with household incomes below the statewide median that may feel the impact more acutely. To mitigate those impacts, the state can look at making equitable investments to ensure that all residents see a stronger transportation system that supports economic growth and includes viable alternatives to driving. In many cases, these investments would have the added benefit of reducing carbon emissions to help the state reach its goal of net zero by 2050:
- Create transportation alternatives by investing in Regional Transit Authorities
- Develop electric vehicle rebates or discounts tied to income
- Increase funding for/expedite municipal road and bridge improvements
- Improve broadband access
- Make public-private partnerships more accessible
For more information on the Chamber’s transportation work, please see our issues and impact page.
In the gas tax calculator, the cost per day of a proposed gas tax increase is determined by dividing the estimated miles driven per day by the estimated fuel economy of a vehicle, and then multiplying by the gas tax increase amount.