By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota drivers could see a spike at the pump this year.

State lawmakers are debating a plan by DFL Governor Tim Walz to raise the gas tax by 20-cents to fix roads.

But that’s not the only tax hike drivers could face this year — and that could be a concern for Minnesota drivers, who are a special breed.

You might say every Minnesota driver is a gas pump economist. We calculate prices so closely, we’re known to drive a couple of blocks away to save pennies per gallon.

So raising Minnesota’s 28-cent-a-gallon gas tax — by 20 cents — is a big deal.

“My initial reaction is, ‘Oh, no! Not more money for gas!'” said driver Sandy Akabwai.

(credit: CBS)

Right now, Minnesota’s gas tax ranks right in the middle: Number 28 in the country. It’s on the low end of gas taxes in the Midwest. Raising it by 20-cents a gallon would move Minnesota to the top five in the nation, and cost the average driver $156 a year.

But that’s not the whole story. It’s not just the gas tax that might go up. The taxes on your new car may go up as well.

Gov. Walz is proposing to raise the vehicle registration tax, too, and the vehicle sales tax, and how much you pay for license tabs.

On a common Minnesota vehicle, like a $28,000 Ford F-150 truck, both the sales tax and the registration tax would jump about $105 each, according to the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association. That’s a total of about $210 more in taxes per vehicle.

Also, license tab fees would stay higher for longer periods of time because the state wants to slow down the vehicle depreciation schedule.

The taxes and fees are part of a sweeping transportation fix from Gov. Walz.

“Minnesota’s crumbling infrastructure is putting our safety at risk,” Walz said when he prosed the tax hikes.

It’s true. Civil engineers recently reported parts of Minnesota’s transportation system are in “poor” condition. And any gas tax hike could only be used to fix roads and bridges, which the report graded “C” and “D+.”

Last fall, a Star Tribune-Minnesota Poll found widespread support for a 10-cent gas tax hike. It was taken before the governor proposed raising it twice that amount.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

Infrastructure Report Card/Minnesota

Best/Worst States Transportation

How Long Since Your State Raised Its Gas Tax?

States With Variable Gas Tax Rate

History of MNDOT Gas Tax Increases

Pat Kessler

Comments (4)
  1. Keith Gruber says:

    I wonder if our Governor realizes that a 20 cent increase in the tax will probably mean a 30+ cent increase in the price at the pump? The company that delivers the fuel will increase the delivery cost to cover their inflated fuel, and then the station will pass that on to the pump. Of course they both will take advantage of the opportunity to increase their profits by adding a few cents.
    Also since the fuel costs will increase for every trucking company, cost for all consumer goods and services will increase to pay those costs.
    Another case of our government not looking at the bigger picture.