The dismal news, already familiar to many motorists, was made official by the American Automobile Association (AAA) in their ongoing gas prices survey of the 50 states. Other states with gas prices above $5.00/gallon last week included Arizona, California, and Michigan. Motor fuel was slightly cheaper in the U.S. Southern states, but could not be bought for less than $4.25 a gallon anywhere. High prices for crude oil, and surging motorist demand in the traditional summer driving season, were blamed for the high gas prices.
The cost of gas is even higher within the Chicago area, especially the city of Chicago. State law allows the Chicago-area mass transit agency, most Chicago-area counties, Cook County, and the City of Chicago to level additional taxes on gasoline. Motor fuel was priced above $6.00/gallon in Chicago last week.
The General Assembly has an opportunity to provide some relief to Illinoisans this year through enactment of House Bill 5723, my bill to end the practice of charging ever-higher sales taxes on motor fuel as the price goes up. Charging a percentage sales tax provides a windfall for Illinois state government when gas prices dramatically increase. HB 5723 puts a stop to this windfall by freezing the sales tax on gas at 18 cents a gallon. HB 5723 is currently bottled up in the Democrat-controlled Rules Committee and has not received a vote. House Republicans will continue to push for a debate on HB 5723 to lower the price of gas for all Illinois families.