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Utah ranks fifth in the nation on the amount of tax it imposes on motor vehicle fuels, according to a report by the Highway Users Federation, a national coalition of businesses, industries and associations promoting increased highway transportation efficiency and safety.

Utah imposes a 19-cent per gallon tax on gasoline, diesel fuel and gasohol products, compared to the national average of 14.8 cents per gallon. The national average is up from 14.2 cents recorded last year at this time.States with higher taxes than Utah are Connecticut, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin. Wisconsin has the highest levy at 20.9 cents per gallon as of July 1. Montana is second at 20 cents per gallon. Connecticut charges 20 cents per gallon on gasoline and diesel but only 19 cents for gasohol. Minnesota also levies 20 cents, with the exception of gasohol which is taxed at 18 cents per gallon. Connecticut is one of 10 states where an additional percentage tax is imposed above the flat rate tax. This additional tax generally fluctuates with changes in the wholesale cost of fuel products.

Utah was near the national average until 1987, when gas taxes were increased by 5 cents a gallon as part of an overall tax package passed by the Legislature.

On July 1, motor fuel taxes went up in Connecticut, Maine, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey and Ohio. Since last July, other states that have experienced increases included Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Maine has had two increases during that time, bringing the total tax to 16 cents on gasoline, 19 cents on diesel fuel and 15 cents on gasohol.

Twelve states allow additional motor fuel taxes to be imposed by local jurisdictions. They include Alabama, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia.

Since 1980, the average motor fuel tax has risen from 8.6 cents to the current 14.8 cents nationally. The American Automobile Association reported the average retail cost of gas per gallon (including taxes) on the Fourth of July weekend was $1.09. Last year's average was $1.03 per gallon.

Utah leads neighbors in tax on gasoline

State Gasoline Diesel

Utah 19 cents 19 cents

Nevada 18 cents 20 cents

Colorado 18 cents 20.5 cents

Arizona 16 cents 16 cents

Idaho 18 cents 18 cents

Wyoming 8 cents 8 cents