The gas tax hike goes into effect Monday. Here’s how much you’ll pay at the pump

The state gas tax spikes by 2 cents a gallon Monday just in time for the July 4 holiday.

So what do car-dependent suburban drivers think?

“I think it’s terrible,” Marco Mastrino said while stopping at a Lisle Shell station Wednesday.

“With inflation, groceries have gone up too, so it’s a double-edged sword,” said Mastrino of Elmhurst. “You really can’t fight it.”

Likewise, Janet Jachna was unhappy but “what are you going to do? You can’t stop buying gas,” she said at a Naperville Safeway.

Illinois lawmakers doubled the 19-cent motor fuel tax in 2019 to fund a massive capital program and required annual adjustments tied to inflation. On Monday, the rate rises from 45 cents a gallon to 47 cents.

The Illinois Policy Institute reported the state has the second-highest gas taxes in the nation; California comes first. The extra 2 cents means a typical driver will pay $184 more a year, hitting low- and middle-income families hardest, the IPI noted.

Illinois gas tax is set to increase on Monday. Some stations, like this one at Golf and Meacham roads in Schaumburg, already are over $4.
Paul Valade/

For perspective, Alex Gough, Gov. J.B. Pritkzer’s press secretary said, “when the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan passed, both Democrats and Republicans agreed to a provision that indexed the state’s motor fuel tax annually to inflation.”

“This was done because the state’s infrastructure needs were allowed to fall by the wayside for a decade prior to Gov. Pritzker taking office, so it was decided a stable funding source for the state’s infrastructure needs was necessary to fund ongoing construction.”

In fiscal years 2015 through 2019, the motor fuel tax generated an average of $1.38 billion, according to data from Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office. In FY 2020, it jumped to $2.35 billion and to $2.65 billion in FY 2023.

So far, in FY 2024, $2.8 billion has been collected.

Illinoisans face a smorgasbord of federal, state and local gas taxes. For example, DuPage County adds on 9 cents a gallon; Lake collects 4.5 cents.

Back at the Lisle Shell station, college student Padraig O’Donnell, who’s on a limited budget, said “gas is already expensive enough. Every cent it goes up, it continues to dig away at money you don’t spend.”

Tiffany Ruleman of Naperville pumps gas at a Lisle Shell station. The state motor fuel tax increases by 3.5% Monday.
Marni Pyke/

Naperville’s Tiffany Ruleman was more philosophical, recalling all-time fuel highs in 2022, when prices spiked to the $5.90 range in the suburbs.

“As long as we don’t hit that threshold again, I think that we can manage,” she said.

Meanwhile, University of Illinois Chicago Urban Transportation Center Director P.S. Sriraj noted “only a handful” of states have indexed gas taxes to inflation.

“At the same time, the (federal) tax per gallon is probably the lowest of any country — that’s something you have to consider,” Sriraj said. The highest rate is in the United Kingdom at $3.49 a gallon compared to 19 cents in the U.S., according to the Department of Energy.

One more thing

Gas prices have ping-ponged around this year and currently sit at an average of $4.17 a gallon in the region, AAA reported.

Why the churn? “We commonly see gas prices fluctuate throughout the summer travel season. As Americans gas up their family vehicles for extended road trips, the increase in fuel demand keeps pressure on supplies,” AAA’s Molly Hart explained.

“Additionally, this time of year, fuel prices can be jolted by hurricanes. The mere threat of a hurricane along the Gulf Coast refinery region (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi) can lead to concerns about the fuel supply chain, resulting in higher prices.

“Also, in years past, extreme heat has created challenges for refineries, which also caused prices to rise,” Hart said.

You should know

Taking the Green Line to the United Center or Malcolm X College? The Chicago Transit Authority will open a new station at Lake Street and Damen Avenue close to those attractions this summer. Its name is (surprise!) the “Damen Green Line Station,” the CTA announced Tuesday.

Gridlock alert

Have a Plan B when you’re on Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville. IDOT will close the Milwaukee District North Line crossing for repairs July 8. Detours will be posted and work should finish July 18.

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