New Jersey fuel consumption dropped after 2016 gas tax hike, says AAA

Gas stations display the price of gasoline in Englewood, N.J. (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

Gas stations display the price of gasoline in Englewood, N.J. (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

After New Jersey hiked its gas tax 22.6 cents a gallon, drivers bought less fuel in the Garden State, according to a new analysis from AAA.

The group also found that gas consumption rose in neighboring Pennsylvania and Delaware during the same period.

Ken Grant, the public and government affairs manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic, suggested it was a shift away from an old way of thinking that said it was cheaper to buy gas in New Jersey than in neighboring states.

“We’re seeing an evening out of where people are buying their gas based more on whatever is most convenient,” Grant said, compared to waiting to gas up when in New Jersey.

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The data comes as the state prepares to increase its gas tax for the second time in as many years.

A modest hike set to take effect Monday will see the gas tax rise 4.3 cents, while the 2016 increase added 22.6 cents to the price of a gallon to pay for infrastructure projects.

State Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio announced in August that New Jersey would be upping its gas tax to account for lower than anticipated revenue from the fuel surcharge, something the administration of Gov. Phil Murphy says is required by the 2016 law.

“The precise change in the gas tax rate is dictated by several factors, all of which are beyond the control of the current administration,” Muoio said in August.

Although gas prices in New Jersey are no longer a bargain for drivers, they are not the most expensive.

According to AAA, gas prices in Delaware are the cheapest, followed by New Jersey at about 10 to 15 cents higher. The groups says pump prices in Pennsylvania are the highest in the region.

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