Possible Gas Tax Increase in New Hampshire not Driving People to Vermont

Published 03/14 2014 07:42PM

Updated 03/14 2014 07:59PM

Granite Staters could face a four cent gas tax increase starting in July. The state senate passed a bill Thursday that would increase the gas tax.

But along the Vermont border town of Lebanon drivers running on empty say right now they choose to fill up in New Hampshire.

“New Hampshire. You know it's cheaper,” Ted Rogers said.

“New Hampshire every time,” Kristyne McFarlin said.

McFarlin says when she gets the chance she fills up in the Granite State rather than her hometown of South Royalton, Vermont.

“It's way expensive much, cheaper down here,” McFarlin said.

But if the New Hampshire gas tax is eventually signed by Governor Hassan it could get pricier.

If you drive 10,000 miles a year getting 25 mpg that would mean paying about an extra $16 a year.

Some drivers don't mind.

“They need the money to fix the roads. If you drive on the roads you know why they need the money,” Harvey Dorr said.

While there's some ambivalence among drivers about where to fill up, gas stations in Vermont are hoping that an increased tax in New Hampshire could lead to more business.

Dave Hunt is manager at Jake's Market and Deli in White River Junction, Vermont. He says he saw a dip in customers after Vermont increased its gas tax last year.

“I saw a decrease pretty dramatically in the sales that we have,” Hunt said.

Jake's owner Bruce Bergeron has four stores in Vermont and five in New Hampshire. He says business in Vermont dropped about 20 to 25 percent after the tax increase.

Even with a gas tax bump in New Hampshire that might not change.

Total state taxes and fees would be 23.63 cents after a gas tax hike still less than in Vermont where it’s 31.97 cents.

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