It’s Been 25 Years Since The Federal Gas Tax Went Up

What do you remember about this week, 25 years ago? October 1993. One of the top movies that year starred Bill Murray as a TV weatherman, who relives the same day, Groundhog Day, over and over and over again.

“Bill Murray’s character [is] getting caught in a time loop,” says Carl Davis, research director for the non-partisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

“Those of us that have followed this gas tax debate can’t help but feel some of that same repetition,” Davis says.

That’s because the federal gas tax is still the same 18.4 cents a gallon for unleaded (23.4 cents a gallon for diesel) that it was when Groundhog Day was playing in theaters 25 years ago. The last time it was raised was Oct. 1, 1993, when the price of gas at the pump averaged just $1.11 a gallon.

Yet over those 25 years, the cost of building and maintaining roads, bridges and transit has shot up, leaving the highway trust fund, which pays the federal portion of highway and transit projects, running on empty.