Pennsylvania has the highest gas tax in the nation at 50.4 cents per gallon, while Alaska has the lowest – the average gallon of gas is taxed at 12.3 cents – according to American Petroleum Institute estimates reviewed by 24/7 Wall St.

Michael Green, a spokesman for the American Automobile Association (AAA), explained that beyond the federal fuel tax, which is levied uniformly across the nation, “states have free reign to determine how they will fund transportation projects within their states.” Green added, “It often comes down to local and state politics.” For this reason, taxes vary considerably across the country.

States with the highest gas taxes then to have higher gasoline prices, even when taxes are excluded from the overall cost, while the opposite tends to be true in low gas tax states.

The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon and has remained unchanged since 1993. For the most part, revenues from gasoline sales are reinvested in transportation infrastructure. According to Green, however, “States do not receive enough money from the federal government for transportation, and have enacted state fuel taxes as a means to supplement their funding needs.” Almost all state gas tax rates match or exceed the federal tax rate, and in some cases double it.

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