2017 changes for Pa. drivers: Gas tax, Turnpike tolls

UPPER MERION, Pa. (WPVI) -- Life in Pennsylvania will be more expensive in the New Year.

2017 will bring about an increase in the gas tax, and also a hike in tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike - and those aren't the only changes coming.

First the non-economic change: The end of those odd little Pennsylvania license plate registration stickers. With computer databases, they are now obsolete. The move will save PennDOT $3 million a year.

You will still have to register your car - currently at $36 a year - but there will now also be an option for a two year registration for twice that cost.

Now the money side changes.

Come January, the Pennsylvania gas tax will go up.

"There will be an 8 cent increase charged to wholesalers this year," said Brad Rudolph of PennDOT.

Pennsylvania relies on a wholesale fuel tax. In 2013 it was 31.2 cents a gallon. It went up 9 cents a gallon in 2014. The next year it went up a dime to just over 50 cents a gallon. There was no change in 2016, but in 2017 it is due to increase that 8 cents.

The upside is the taxes will go to transportation improvements.

"So, this gas tax increase is part of Act 89, which really is the funding mechanism to improve and get to our roads and bridges that desperately need attention," Rudolph said.

So, more construction and transportation dollars from the gas tax hike, and soon turnpike users as well. A 6 percent hike in Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls are on the way.

How will the hike play out? Right now to take the turnpike from Valley Forge to Harrisburg it will cost you $9.85 cash, $6.91 EZ Pass. But come 12:01 a.m. January 8th the cash cost will jump to $10.45 and the EZ pass rate will be $7.32.

With this coming hike, the 75-year-old turnpike will have raised its tolls nine times in the last nine years. It says a big chunk of the money it's raised with these toll hikes go beyond the turnpike - going to PennDOT programs and public transit.
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