Drivers will be paying more taxes on their gasoline and diesel fuel starting Monday.

Ohio's taxes on gasoline will rise 10.5 cents, to 38.5 cents per gallon. The tax on diesel fuel is going up 19 cents, to 47 cents a gallon.

Combined with federal taxes, drivers will pay 56.9 cents per gallon on gasoline and 71.4 cents on diesel fuel.

The state tax increases are part of the two-year transportation budget that Gov. Mike DeWine signed in April.

Here's what the increase means for drivers:

Q: How much will the increase cost me?

A: Most drivers can expect to pay an extra $63 to $83 per year, depending on the size of the gas tank and assuming a fill-up of once a week, according to Ohio AAA. Drivers of diesel vehicles likely are looking at annual increases of $112 to $150.

Drivers will be reminded exactly how much they're paying in gas tax at the gas pump. The budget includes a new requirement that the Ohio Department of Agriculture put stickers on retail fuel pumps showing the rate of the gas and diesel fuel taxes.

Even though taxes are going up, the price of fuel doesn't necessarily have to follow.

The price of oil makes up about 60% of the cost of a gallon of gasoline, according to Ohio AAA, so a drop or rise in oil prices will play a bigger role in setting gasoline prices than taxes.

Supplies of crude are expected to be ample, and absent a major hurricane or some global disruption, oil prices should be stable this summer.

Of course, there can be other issues that can affect gasoline prices temporarily. For example, Philadelphia officials last week announced the closing of the oldest and largest refinery on the East Coast, where there had been an explosion and fire.

As of Thursday, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Ohio was $2.64, 11 cents below where it was this time a year ago and a nickel below the national average.

Q: What will the money be used for?

A: Building and maintaining roads and bridges. The state constitution prohibits using this money for other purposes.

Q: What's behind the increase?

A: The state has said the existing tax no longer provided enough money to sufficiently maintain roads and undertake new construction. Meanwhile, inflation has eaten into the buying power of what has been a slow-growing revenue source.

The Ohio Department of Transportation said last week that $156 million in maintenance projects that had been delayed are now back on track with the additional funding. The projects include bridge painting, bridge deck replacement, minor repair work and roadway resurfacing.

ODOT also announced a record $158 million annual safety budget that benefited from the tax increase. The money will be used for everything from additional signs to the reconfiguration of intersections.

"Road maintenance is important. It would cost more in the long run if we didn't maintain our roads," said Kimberly Schwind, an Ohio AAA spokeswoman.

Flat tires and suspension damage caused by poorly maintained roads, for example, can cost drivers far more than the tax increase, she said.

Q: Will local governments get more more money for road work?

A: Yes. The increase will generate about $550 million more annually for the state and about $300 million for cities, counties and townships. Add it all up, including fees on electric vehicles and hybrids, and the tax increases will raise $865 million more a year.

Motorists and others can learn more about what their local communities will get on an ODOT website about the transportation bill, www.dot.state.oh.us/budget

Q: What about the fee on hybrid and electric vehicles?

A: The spending plan adopted by the state calls for a $200 annual registration fee on electric vehicles and $100 on gas-electric hybrids. Owners of these vehicles will pay the fee on their renewals starting with registrations that expire Jan. 1. Drivers with a multiyear registration will not be charged the additional fee until their next renewal, according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Some owners of hybrids and electric vehicles have complained that they are being hit disproportionately compared to owners of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles, but legislators view the fee as an issue of fairness to ensure everyone who uses Ohio's roads pays something.

 

mawilliams@dispatch.com @BizMarkWilliams