Akron-area motorists this weekend were surprised to learn a 10.5-cent increase in the state tax on gasoline is taking effect Monday.

Alanda Davis, 23, of Akron, said she’d heard something about the increase, but didn’t realize it was permanent.

Davis said the increase will hit people like her, those at the lower end of the income scale, especially hard.

“The cost of living goes up, but our pay doesn’t go up,” said Davis, at the Speedway gas station on East Exchange Street across from the University of Akron, where regular unleaded gasoline cost $2.74.9 a gallon on Friday.

A 10.5-cent increase, Davis said, “doesn’t matter to the rich people. They spend money on anything.”

Davis is a student at Stark State College who works in concessions for the RubberDucks minor-league team at Canal Park stadium in downtown Akron.

In April, Gov. Mike DeWine signed the two-year state transportation budget, which increases the state gas tax by 10.5 cents per gallon to 38.5 cents, effective Monday. The diesel tax will increase by 19 cents to 47 cents per gallon, also effective Monday.

The money generated by the increase will go to pay for state and local highway and street improvements. Fifty-five percent of the money will go to state projects, while the rest will go to local governments.

Mike Harrah, 42, of Silver Lake, said he remembers when gasoline prices were upward of $4 or more.

“If it’s less than $3 [with the increase], then it’s hard to complain — if they’re using it for actually making the roads better,” Harrah said, at the Sheetz station on East Steels Corners Road, east of state Route 8, in Stow.

Some people may not immediately notice the increase.

Gas stations must pay the higher taxes, but they do not have to pass along the increase to customers.

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.com, tweeted on Friday: “… increases in gas prices may not perfectly match increases in gas taxes due to price cycling” in Ohio and Illinois, where taxes also are going up.

Price cycling is where gas stations cut prices to compete with one another.

Motorists can track prices at local gas stations with the GasBuddy app.

 

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com.