Governor proposes hefty hikes to gas tax, vehicle registration fees

Governor proposes hefty hikes to gas tax, vehicle registration fees
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Source: Hawaii News Now/file image)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii already has the highest gas prices in the nation.

And under a proposal before lawmakers, they could go up even more.

The governor is pushing for significant increases to fuel taxes and vehicles registration fees to provide more money for state highways.

The state Department of Transportation has argued that these taxes are lower than in other states and needed to adequately maintain highway infrastructure.

Officials also said that more efficient cars are cutting the amount of money the state gets from the gas tax.

“The fate of the state’s ability to provide safe and efficient roadways to the public relies on its ability to require the needed funding for all highway programs and projects,” the state said, in its justification for the proposal.

[Read more: Report: Hawaii residents pay more in taxes than those in most other states]

[Read more: How to curb Hawaii’s greenhouse gas emissions? Legislators to consider carbon tax for polluters]

Under the plan, the gas tax would rise from 16 to 22 cents on Oahu, and to 21 cents on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.

The increase would cost the average Oahu driver about $27.50 a year, according to state estimates.

Meanwhile, the state would also increase the vehicle registration fee (on top of county fees) from $45 per year to $50.

In addition, the vehicle weight tax would be increased by 25 cents a pound, which would equate to an approximate increase of $8.75 annually for a 3,500-pound vehicle (about the weight of a sedan).

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.