Driving in Pennsylvania will get more expensive in 2015 so enjoy the lower gas prices at the pump while we have them.
As of Thursday, the state's uncapping of another third of its oil company franchise tax will cause it to rise by 10 cents a gallon and that likely will impact what you pay at the pump.
But with gas prices averaging $2.48 a gallon on Sunday according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 241 gas outlets in Harrisburg, even if that full increase is passed along to consumers it would still keep the per-gallon price well below the $3 or higher price that motorists had paid in recent months.
On July 1, annual passenger car and motorcycle registration will rise by $1 to $37 and $19, respectively. Pickup truck registration will rise $1.50, to $60 and antique, classic and collectible vehicle registration by $2, to $77.
Vehicle inspection stickers that now cost $5 could rise, as of July 1. And the base license fee, which does not include the cost of the photo, will rise $1, to $22 on July 1.
All of these increases are a result of Act 89 of 2013, the transportation funding law, that state Department of Transportation officials say is paying for the uptick in road and bridge work seen throughout the region.
"We saw at least 1,600 miles of roadway improvements just this year because of Act 89," said PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt. "People are going to see the amount of work continue to increase.
These are projects that have been on the backburner for years and they'll continue to see these improvements in 2015 and beyond."
Moreover, she pointed out the driver's license and vehicle registration fees hadn't been increased in years.
Nationally, Pennsylvania already ranks near the top of states with the highest gas taxes. according to information from the American Petroleum Institute. As of October, the state and federal gas taxes combined accounted for 60.2 cents of the per-gallon price that Pennsylvania motorists paid. Only those in New York, California and Connecticut paid more.
With the dime increase taking effect on Thursday raising the taxes to about 70 cents per gallon, Pennsylvania's motor fuels tax rate is surely not going to slip down the rankings.
Along with the rising taxes and other fees, the Pennsylvania Turnpike will add to the tab of driving in the commonwealth in the coming year.
Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 4, tolls are rising by 5 percent for E-ZPass and cash customers.
That means those who take the turnpike to get from the East Shore to the West Shore will pay 10 cents more if they pay cash (or $1.70) and 5 cents more if they use E-ZPass ($1.09). For a full listing of the new tolls, visit the turnpike website.
Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said the increase is needed to help the turnpike meet its obligations under state law that require it to contribute $450 million annually through 2021 to support the state's transportation funding needs.