Welcome to the Senate Republican Press Search.

View Article Details

Print

New Illinois gas tax hurting South Beloit gas stations

State Journal Register

Thursday, July 11, 2019  |  Article  |  Derrick Mason

Taxes, gasoline (88)

A tax increase that went into effect at the beginning of the month has a gas station owner near the Wisconsin border contemplating his future, as drivers head north to fill their tanks.

 

Illinois legislators in June voted to double a state tax on gasoline to 38 cents from 19 cents per gallon. The increase took effect July 1, and gas station owner Pravin Patel immediately noticed a dip in sales.

 

Patel operates a Mobil gas station in South Beloit, located about the length of football field away from the Illinois-Wisconsin border. He said he’s making about $2,000 less per day on gas sales than in previous months, based on credit card transactions alone. He’s heard similar stories from other gas station owners near the border, he added.

 

“I’ve lost a lot of business and I’ve lost two employees because I can’t afford them anymore” Patel said. “Because the tax went up, business went down.”

 

Patel suggested that legislators should consider a buffer zone of sorts to protect gas station owners on the border. If the additional tax was waived within a mile or two of the border, customers might return to Illinois, he said.

 

“All the business is going to Wisconsin, so the people who were paying the taxes (in Illinois), you lose that now, too,” Patel said.

 

The difference in gas prices on one side of the border versus the other is roughly the same as the Illinois tax increase. The average price of a gallon of gas in South Beloit on Wednesday was $2.78, compared to $2.61 in Beloit, Wisconsin, according to data from GasBuddy.

 

The average gas tank on a small-to mid-sized car holds about 12 gallons, which means a driver with a completely empty tank could expect to save about $2 by filling up in Wisconsin.

 

Pat Mockus, who lives in Illinois about a mile, filled his gas tank at a separate Illinois gas station that sits right on the dividing line between the two states. He also pumped gas into containers to later fuel a pair of hot rods he planned to bring to an upcoming event.

The gas station is on the Illinois side of the border, but the homes and businesses on the other side of the street sit in Wisconsin. Mockus said he was in a hurry, otherwise he would have gone to a gas station in Wisconsin to save a little money.

 

“It’s a no-brainer,” Mockus said. “It’s an extra (19) cents per gallon, and I already use premium gas. (My vehicle) only gets about 12 miles to the gallon.”

 

For Patel, a consumer’s easy decision to fuel in Wisconsin could spell the end of his business.

 

“I’m worried at times,” he said. “I think the government needs to remove this tax.”