February 26, 2010

Fill-up Could Cost You More

If you drive a car, it’s the one constant–heading to the gas pump. In Naperville, the cost of going to the pump could become more expensive, as the City Council is looking at possibly raising the Naperville motor fuel tax from two cents to five cents per gallon.

For the council, it is one of the solutions to close the 2011 budget deficit, with the tax acting as a user fee to help maintain the roads.

“We have a $12 million budget each year to maintain our roads in Naperville,” said councilman Kenn Miller, “and we only have $6 million that’s coming from the current fuel tax. So the increase will help do that and it’ll go directly to maintaining the roads and not into the general fund.”

The city fuel tax is one of many for station owners. There’s also federal and state taxes that are nearly 40 cents per gallon, a county tax of four cents per gallon, along with individual sales tax.

The possible increase worries owners, who have been paying the current motor fuel tax out of their own pockets, and do not want business to go elsewhere.

“(Other stations will) have a five cents advantage, and in essence we’ll be paying the five cents out of our pockets, that’s one choice,” said Amet Patel, owner of the BP at Ogden and Washington Streets. “Or we pass it on to the public, we go five cents higher and pass it on to the public (and) they’re just (going to) stop coming out here.”

However, the city maintains there are more factors that will keep drivers in the area, like Naperville’s 7.25% sales tax.

“Naperville, even with this increase, we will be competitive with the overall tax on fuel,” said Miller. “So they can go to another city, one of our neighbors but they’re not necessarily going to be paying any less.”

Even with that assurance from the city, owners are still worried the possible tax increase could be fatal, with some sources saying it would “kill business.”

The gas tax is one of three increases on table for the City Council. The other two are a trash collecting fee and an increase to the food and beverage tax.

The Council will discuss those increase and vote on them at the meeting on March 2.


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