Pump prices in TN show true impact of high NJ gas tax
Ah yes, New Jersey's lovely gas tax. Just another one of those facts of life causing more of a burden on residents in an already very expensive state.
In fact, we're one of the highest-taxed states in the Nation. Of course, this isn't anything new for anyone living here in the Garden State. It's just the way it is.
Who remembers those days when New Jerseyans were able to brag about the low price at the pump? Seems like a distant memory now.
However, that used to be one shining beacon here in the Garden State. The gas tax was so low, that it was actually among the lowest in the country.
That rate was unchanged for a long time, going back to the late 1980s. And up until former governor Chris Christie signed into law the current tax formula, we enjoyed having some of the cheapest gas anywhere.
And now? Not so much. And it's unfortunate for those of us living here in New Jersey.
Here's a quick look at a gas station in Monmouth County from July 8, 2023. At the time, gas prices roughly hovered around $3.57 per gallon at most stations in the area.
Prices that day, however, varied widely at times depending on the station. But for the most part, the mid $3 range is where a majority of stations had their prices set.
Here's another location where the price was a bit higher. Still, though, it beats crossing into the $4 per gallon range, something we all hope never returns as an average.
This Shell gas station in Ocean County on July 9, 2023, had a gas price of $3.79 per gallon.
The good news for New Jersey residents is that this was among one of the higher-listed stations. Stations in general were somewhat lower than this.
It's something I really took notice of after returning from my vacation and seeing gas prices in another area of the country. Not only were the gas prices lower, this was in an area where you would expect gas prices to be higher than in New Jersey.
I'm talking about gas prices in Tennessee. Now yes, the state is much larger than New Jersey, but there was a bit more consistency with the price per gallon there from what I noticed in the Garden State.
Around the Nashville area near the airport, gas prices were hovering around the low $3 per gallon range, approximately 40 to 45 cents cheaper than prices here. But outside the city, that number was even lower.
West of the city, we saw this gas price of $2.99 per gallon. It's something we weren't used to seeing in New Jersey at the moment.
Also surprising is how much lower the gas price was out in this part of the country when compared to Jersey. Could self-serve be part of the reason for lower gas prices? Perhaps.
But that wasn't the lowest price we saw. There was another gas station that was even a bit cheaper than that.
Here's a gas station in the same area of Tennessee with an even lower gas price. For the most part, gas stations down here were roughly averaging around the high $2 per gallon mark to around $3 per gallon.
And there were some prices that were even lower than that. I think the lowest we spotted was $2.87 per gallon, which feels amazingly low.
Or, is it? Are these gas prices really that low, or are we just used to prices being so much higher? Have we been conditioned to accept our high gas tax as normal?
New Jersey's gas tax since October 1, 2022, is 41.4 cents per gallon. And that's actually a drop from where it was prior to that date in 2022.
In comparison, the Tennessee state gas tax is currently 26 cents per gallon, making it around 15 cents cheaper right now when compared to the tax rate in New Jersey.
Prior to when the state increased the gas tax under former Gov. Chris Christie, we sat at 14.5 cents per gallon, which was among the lowest in the nation. You can tell just by the numbers why New Jersey's gas prices are what they are today.
Even at that rate, however, Tennessee gas prices still look like they might've been a hair cheaper than ours, but not by much. But today, they're averaging around 40 to 45 cents per gallon cheaper due in part to our ridiculously high gas tax.
It's unfortunate, but it is what it is for now. At least there are some stations in New Jersey that are able to keep prices closer to $3 per gallon.
This Raceway in Edison, NJ, on July 9, 2023, was at $3.19 per gallon, only 20 cents higher than the average we saw in Tennessee.
It just goes to show how much our 41.4 cents per gallon gas tax affects prices here when compared to other states. It caused us to lose the status of having some of the lowest gas prices in the nation.
Hopefully, one day, we can elect the right people into office that can reverse this unwanted trend.
Self-serve gas: The pro's and con's of serving ourselves in NJ
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.