ROCKPORT, Ind. (WEHT) – Gas prices across the country and in Indiana continue to reach record levels, which is bad timing as we approach the Summer travel season. Some residents, and one Spencer County non-profit group, are hopeful potential gas tax freezes could provide much-needed relief.
“My dad lives in Owensboro, and I miss him a lot. I can barely go see him,” says Rockport resident Mateo Suarez. In addition to the impacts on family visits, Suarez says with the Indiana average for gasoline over $4.60 per gallon, he is altering Summer plans that would normally include a trip to nearby Lincoln State Park.
“We barely go out of town sometimes,” explains Suarez.
The Indiana Department of Revenue breaks down the high price of a gallon of gas. The average retail price for gasoline in Indiana is around $3.43, which is the price before adding taxes. Once state sales and gas taxes are applied, accompanied by the federal gas tax, the state average jumps well above $4 per gallon. Not only is this hurting every day drivers, but the Spencer County Council on Aging is feeling the pinch, too.
“Our budget for this year was $26,000 for gas alone, and we’ve went through a quarter of that already this year,” explains council Executive Director Angela Turner. “And with gas prices rising, we’re going to quickly go through that and maybe some more.”
The Council on Aging largely assists elderly residents with their transportation needs to and from medical visits. The group also offers at-home services for those in need. As the price at the pump continues to surge, Turner says the Spencer County group has been forced to think outside the box.
“With the rising cost of gas, we’re going to make sure we try to double up on our passengers,” says Turner.
There have been some discussions among Indiana lawmakers about freezing state gas taxes, though a large portion of those tax dollars go towards infrastructure repairs. Still, Suarez says he prefers relief at the pump, even at the expense of various road projects.
“Honestly, if we could go even-even, that would be perfect,” says Suarez. “The main thing, gas prices, hold on to it, and hold off.”