South Carolina’s fuel tax increased by two cents on July 1, bringing the statewide total to 22.75 cents per gallon. The increase marks year three of the six-year phase-in period established by the 2017 road funding law.
Why is the Fuel Tax Increasing?
The primary source of state funding for roads and bridges comes from the state fuel tax. Prior to 2017, South Carolina had not adjusted the fuel tax since 1987. South Carolina’s fuel tax was among the lowest in the nation and had lost a significant amount of buying power.
The SC Legislature made transportation infrastructure a priority in 2017, choosing to increase vehicle-related fees to make additional investments to fund improvements to South Carolina’s extensive state-owned road system.
All of the new user-fee based revenues, including the fuel tax, are being used to make repairs and improvements to existing roads and bridges in all 46 counties in South Carolina.
The 2017 investment was long overdue, and right now, South Carolina is working to make up for years of neglect due to underfunding.
All of the new revenues go directly to the Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund to be used on repairs to existing roads and bridges across the state. A full accounting of this fund, including project lists, and vendor payments are available online and updated monthly.
To date, over $1 billion has been committed to fund improvements to over 3,000 miles in ALL 46 counties in South Carolina.
NONE of these improvements would be possible without the revenues from the 2017 road funding law.
Despite the increase, our gas receipts will still be among the cheapest in the nation. For example, here’s how much you would be paying in state taxes/fees to fill up in our sister states:
Also, just for comparison on July 1, 2019, the average price of regular unleaded gasoline in SC was $2.37 per gallon – which is lower than it was the year before. (On July 1, 2018, the average price was $2.52 per gallon.) View more details about South Carolina’s gas tax prices here.