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Trucking companies warn of higher prices with new fee and still no diesel relief

Certain trucks will have to pay up to 17.5 cents per mile starting in January under a new Highway Use Fee.

MERIDEN, Conn. — Connecticut's $.25 gas tax holiday has been extended through the end of the year, but it still does not include diesel fuel.

Beginning in April, the state lifted its gas tax on regular fuel as the cost to fill up increased due to the war in Ukraine. The holiday expiration date has now been pushed back twice. Starting on January 1, it will be phased back in over five months in nickel increments. Gov. Ned Lamont originally said diesel would not be included because it would mostly benefit out-of-state truckers.

"The diesel fuel prices have been having dramatic swings, but they’ve been steadily higher than they’ve been historically," Kate Childs, Vice President of Tuxis-Ohr's Fuel in Meriden, said. 

AAA reported Tuesday that the average price for a gallon of diesel gas in Connecticut is $5.92 compared to $3.64 for regular. A year ago, diesel was $3.69, only about 14 cents higher than regular. Childs said diesel is an international commodity while regular is more domestic. Since they haven't had relief, she said consumers are paying for it.

"Whether it’s the gasoline to put in your car or your milk at the grocery store, everything is affected by the price of the diesel fuel," she said. "The higher the price of fuel, the higher the price of your products is going to be no matter what you’re buying."

Trucking companies are also gearing up to pay more per mile in the state. Under a new Highway Use Fee going into effect on January 1st, certain heavy carriers, like trucks, will be charged anywhere from $.2.5 to $.17.5 per mile. It will not expire. Childs said this, again, will likely fall on consumers.

Credit: FOX61
Starting in the new year, a Highway Use Fee will go into effect for certain trucks.

In July, the diesel tax increased by nine cents to 49.2 cents per gallon. This will last through June 30th, 2023. State law requires that it be updated annually, based on a complex formula calculated by the Department of Revenue Services that takes into account daily fuel prices over the prior 365 days.

"The diesel fuel tax is affected by anyone no matter where you live or whether or not you even own a car because you’re paying more for your goods," Childs said.

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The president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut said in a statement: 

"This tax is solely paid by the trucking industry. Policymakers passed this measure in 2021 prior to knowing about our burgeoning state surplus and the hundreds of millions of federal infrastructure dollars that are coming to the state. New tax dollars to support infrastructure improvements are simply not needed."

John Blair said consumers are likely to "pay the price for costs that could be avoided.” 

Credit: FOX61
Trucking companies warn of higher prices with new fee and still no diesel relief

Childs said the price of diesel fuel, and having to increase prices to make up for it, is taking the place of regular fuel relief. Long-term, she said they would like support as energy slowly transitions to renewable.

"We need to feel like we are a part of the solution with support from the government," she said.

FOX61 reached out to Gov. Lamont's office and the Department of Revenue Services for comment Tuesday and did not hear back.


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