API, May 2011
You might have done a double take- the average amount of tax American motorists pay has actually fallen? Yes- in some areas, taxes have dropped 12c/gal since May 2011.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) tracks average combined gasoline taxes- that is the total of federal, state, and local taxes, and makes a pretty color coded map for us to check out.

Now, before every motorist in North Carolina says WRONG- gas taxes rose- yes, in NC they did. But average taxes fell, thanks to some states that charge a percentage based sales tax on gasoline, and since the price of gasoline has fallen, so has the percentage that states collect. The biggest loser on high prices is the federal government- who still takes the flat 18.4c/gal.

So who made out the best? Likely Illinois, who saw combined taxes drop from 69c/gal in May 2011 to the current 57.3c/gal. Who made out the worst? North Carolina- where combined taxes rose 6.4c/gal between last May and today.

The national average combined tax amounted to 49.5c/gal in May 2011 and fell to 48.8c/gal here in January. Don't get too excited- I'm sure combined taxes will rise in the months ahead as the wholesale cost of gasoline shoots up, but the lower taxes do have a nice benefit, especially since taxes fell in the places with routinely high gas prices.
API, January 2012

Biggest winners:
Illinois: Decrease of 11.7c/gal
Indiana: Decrease of 4.7c/gal
Michigan: Decrease of 4.3c/gal
Connecticut: Decrease of 3.3c/gal
Hawaii: Decrease of 2.3c/gal
California: Decrease of 1.9c/gal
New York: Decrease of 1.7c/gal