JANUARY 18, 2006 -- If you've filled up at the pump lately, you've probably noticed that the price of gasoline, after dropping to $2.00 a gallon, has shot back up. We're told cold weather in other parts of the country is the reason for the price jump. Okay, we can understand that. It's winter and a price increase this time of the year is not unusual. What we can't accept is the 3-cent increase in the state gasoline tax that took effect on January 1.
Now we're paying 30 cents in state taxes for every gallon. If you compare our gas tax with surrounding states, you know that we already have one of the highest gas tax rates in the region. This increase just adds to the burden of people who are faced with paying off their Christmas debts at the same time that credit card companies are raising their rates and minimum payments.
North Carolina DOT says the increase is needed to keep road conditions safe and, without it, our highways will suffer. That may be true, but for now, we support the state legislators who have called for the repeal of the gas tax increase. We advocate a toll system on our major highways as the solution to highway maintenance needs. Let those who use our state's busiest highways pay for their upkeep.