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Higher gas tax has trickled down to the pump

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

gaspricesThe increase in the wholesale gasoline tax approved by the Legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett has trickled down to the pump.

The transportation funding bill that passed in November eliminated the 12-cent-per-gallon flat tax paid by consumers and shifted all taxation of gasoline to the wholesale level, removing an artificial cap on the wholesale tax, with the net effect of a 9.5-cent-per-gallon increase in the total tax effective Jan. 1.

According to the AAA Fuel Gauge report, the statewide average price for a gallon of unleaded rose from $3.457 on Dec. 30 to $3.554 on Sunday, an indication that distributors are passing the full burden of the higher tax to drivers. National average prices remained relatively stable during that time frame.

Here's a statement from the Sheetz convenience store chain about the transportation funding bill and tax increase:

The lack of funding available for repairs on Pennsylvania roads and bridges has taken a significant toll on Pennsylvania drivers, including our customers, our employees and the many trucks that serve our 464 stores throughout the Commonwealth and the other five states in which we operate.

Sheetz commends Governor Tom Corbett and the General Assembly for the recently enacted, bipartisan transportation funding legislation, which will provide a much needed financial source for infrastructure improvements across the Commonwealth. The legislation takes effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

Sheetz is committed to assuring our consumers the lowest possible price on gasoline and there are many factors that go into how those prices are set. While removal of the oil company franchise cap is one reason that retail costs could increase, there are other components of this legislation that could decrease those costs, including the elimination of the 12-cent liquid fuels tax that consumers pay at the pump.

Act 89 provides for a comprehensive investment in transportation that will make our road system safe and efficient, stimulate the state’s economy, and improve the quality of life for both our employees and customers.

Photo: The Huffington Post

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In addition to socking us with cold and snow, Old Man Winter is exposing the ridiculousness of those long-range winter forecasts that local TV meteorologists trot out every fall.

dartboardThese heavily hyped ratings gimmicks purport to tell us how much snow and cold we’ll get each month for the entire season. Our guess is that the TV execs want you to watch, then forget. We decided to keep track throughout the season.

The National Weather Service recorded 15 inches of snow in December. WPXI’s Stephen Cropper predicted 10 inches; WTAE’s Mike Harvey said 8 inches; KDKA’s Jeff Verszyla told us we’d get 4.4 inches. So the best forecast of the three was off by 50 percent.

Mr. Verszyla had us getting 6.6 inches total during November and December, while Mr. Harvey predicted 10 inches for the two-month period. The actual total was 24.3 inches, meaning your Aunt Nellie’s Ouija board probably came closer to the correct total than the experts.

Mr. Cropper didn’t hazard a guess for November, waiting till the end of the month to deliver his winter forecast.

Mr. Verszyla said December temperatures would be 5 degrees warmer than normal, while Mr. Harvey forecast an average 1 degree below normal. The actual average was 1.7 degrees warmer than normal. Mr. Cropper didn’t predict the average but said “quick shots” of cold air would move through, not exactly a daring forecast for Pittsburgh in December.

For January, Mr. Harvey says to expect 15 inches of snow; Mr. Cropper says 12 inches; Mr. Verszyla, 7.9 inches — not 8, mind you, but 7.9.

Your guess is as good as theirs.

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Just a reminder that Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls went up at midnight, 12 percent for cash payers and 2 percent for E-ZPass subscribers. For more details, see the Post-Gazette's report from last week right here.

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While The Roundabout was tending to various holiday demands, Allegheny County announced the completion of the Brownsville-Broughton-Curry Hollow intersection realignment project in early December. This gets our vote for Project of the Year, a vast improvement to one of the most congested intersections in the region.

Also completed were two other major intersection improvements in the South Hills: expansion of the Broughton-Baptist intersection in Bethel Park and a second through lane from Gilkeson Road to Connor Road in Mt. Lebanon. 2013 also brought us completion of the Route 28 interchanges at the 31st and 40th street bridges.

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Outbound traffic on Route 28 will be restricted to a single lane in the area of the 31st Street Bridge starting at 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The restriction is in addition to the around-the-clock lane closure already in place before the bridge. It will be lifted at 5 a.m. daily, except Saturday, when it will continue until 8 a.m. Crews will install an overhead sign.

Inbound traffic on West Carson Street will be unable to turn right into the Corliss Tunnel starting Monday morning. Underground electrical work will cause the closure at 8 a.m. It will continue around the clock through Feb. 14, with traffic detoured beyond the tunnel to Steuben Street and Chartiers Avenue to reach Corliss Street. Drivers will continue to be able to turn right from the tunnel onto West Carson. Outbound West Carson Street remains closed for the $39 million reconstruction project that will stretch into 2015.

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