CHICAGO — Get ready to pay up at the pump if you are traveling for the holiday weekend.
Illinois’ fuel tax will go up another half cent more, to 39.2 cents per gallon. The highest prices seen at the pump in seven years, roughly a 42% increase from this time last year.
The pandemic keeping many motorists at home, and reductions in domestic fuel supplies this year responsible for the spike in prices, experts say.
Lawmakers doubled the gas tax in 2019 and locked in an automatic gas tax every time inflation goes up.
The money goes into a fund to pay for roads and bridges.
Gas prices have been rising nationwide ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that 47.7 million Americans are planning to travel between July 1–5, with 43.6 million traveling by car. In terms of total traveler volume, it’s expected to be the second-highest on record for any Independence Day weekend — but it’s expected to be the highest on record for drivers, as more Americans are choosing road trips instead of traveling by plane, train, or bus.
Milwaukee’s Chris Briggs and his dad Lyndon Briggs are keeping a nervous eye on rising gas prices as they embark on a trip to Disney World.
“We’ve been looking forward to it all week long, to finally go down south and enjoy some good weather,” Chris Briggs said.
“I had a business trip up in Milwaukee, and it was $2.99 a gallon there, so I filled up there,” said Indiana motorist Greg Yovich.
AAA spokeswoman Molly Hart says, “gas prices are high and will they probably will continue to be through August. But what we are seeing is that it’s not deterring people from going out and taking a trip this weekend.”
Many motorist WGN talked to say they are taking the price increase in stride, adding that they are happy to see things slowly getting back to normal.
“It’s nice to see people’s smiles,” says Iris Bosques, “and slowly but surely getting back to what normal really is.”
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