Amidst skyrocketing fuel prices, an increased tax rate on diesel fuel was announced Wednesday.
Beginning July 1, the diesel tax will rise by nine cents per gallon in Connecticut. That brings the existing diesel fuel tax to 49 cents per gallon, representing a 23% increase.
Rolling through a Southington truck stop Wednesday, drivers were fueling up and just learning the news.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Bob Plough, who he drives his truck from Ohio, through Connecticut twice a week.
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According to AAA, the average price per gallon of diesel fuel in Connecticut Wednesday was $6.17 per gallon. Plough said his truck has two-150-gallon tanks. He said it can hold 300 gallons of fuel and with the current average per gallon of diesel, a fill-up is more than than $1,800.
Maurice Tucker, of Manchester, said his fuel cost is already significantly higher than a year ago.
“Man, it’s like a third more I would say,” he said.
Truck drivers who spoke with NBC Connecticut said the cost of the diesel tax increase will be passed on to consumers.
“We are passing it right onto the American people at home,” said Samuel Gaines, who operated a four-truck fleet out of Alabama, but travels through Connecticut regularly.
Gaines was transporting onions today, some which will soon end up in a grocery store near you. Grocery stores that're bracing for the impact of this additional cost.
“[Trucking companies] are going to pass it on to us and we’re going to have to adjust our prices as best we possibly can,” said Molly Devanney, whose family owns the Highland Park Market grocery chain.
Devanney explains that fuel surcharges are already on every delivery invoice and deliveries which are normally three times a week are now only two.
“It’s all grocery stores,” Devanney said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re buying from your local grocery store, or a national chain, we are all seeing the impact of it.”
While there is a temporary tax break on standard gasoline, that does not exist for diesel. Chris Herb, the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association (CEMA) president, thinks there should be and is calling on the general assembly to hold a special session to suspend this tax increase.
“If their primary job is to make sure that they represent the best interest of their constituents, they will seriously consider going back in,” Herb said.