Average Illinois gas prices nearly a dollar more than Missouri

(The Center Square) – Gas prices continue to climb and likely won’t retreat anytime soon.

The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in Illinois is about $5.40, with some stations in Chicago approaching $7 a gallon. As of Monday, AAA had Missouri’s average at $4.45.

There are some areas in Illinois where gas is closer to $5 a gallon, including Champaign, the Quad Cities, and Metro East.

Numerous factors are pushing prices up, with regular gasoline hitting another record of $4.87 a gallon on average Monday across the U.S., up a quarter in just the past week.

Gas prices were already expected to breach the $4 a gallon mark for the first time since 2008, with or without shots fired in Ukraine.

Jim Watson, executive director of the Illinois Petroleum Council, said the war in Ukraine is partly to blame, but policies from the Biden administration have also contributed to high gas prices.

“Two to three years ago, we were the number one producer of oil and natural gas and we could do that again given the right signals and the right policy,” Watson said.

Some lawmakers have floated the idea of temporarily halting the collection of taxes charged at the pump. Jared Walczak from the Tax Foundation told CNBC taxes should be lowered on more things than just gasoline.

“Why provide a benefit through this one tax, with this one thing for drivers, when you see the need across a wide range of goods,” Walczak said. “Even a one-time rebate for everyone is better than gas tax relief.”

U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, D-Illinois, is proposing $500 rebates to consumers, with the money coming from the fossil fuel industry by repealing billions in tax subsidies.

“My goodness, let’s take some of that back and give it back to the American people because [oil companies are] not using it to drill, they’re using it to pay out dividends to their shareholders,” Casten said during a recent news conference.

Republicans have called on the Biden administration to reverse the pause on new oil drilling on federal lands, something the president said will begin next month.

In Illinois, State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, has introduced a plan that would cap the state’s sales tax on gas at 18 cents a gallon for motor fuel based on where gas prices were before the spike. He said drivers would save 10 to 30 cents a gallon.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s pause of the scheduled automatic increase in the state’s gas tax will only save two cents per gallon. The tax will go up Jan. 1, 2023, and then again six months later.

In the meantime, Patrick De Haan from GasBuddy said motorists may find relief just over the state border.

“Wisconsin, that is going to be where your fill-up is, and if you are heading down to St. Louis by the way, massive difference of about 50 cents a gallon from the Illinois side which is higher,” De Haan told a Chicago TV station.

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