Taxes, transport cost push gas up

Published 11:04 pm Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Average gas prices in Selma are often at or around 10 cents more than other areas such as Prattville and Montgomery.


Arleen Alexander, the president of the Petroleum and Convenience Marketers of Alabama, says that there are a variety of factors that can contribute to the price difference.

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“Like taxes, transportation costs and competition in the marketplace,” she said.

Selma does not have any fuel terminals and gas must be transported from either Birmingham or Montgomery.

The National Association of Convenience Stores says that in some cases being a few dozen miles farther from a terminal can have a significant effect on fuel costs.

Other factors in fuel cost are fuel requirements, market conditions and brand.

According to the NACS, more densely populated areas of the country are required to sell a different blend of fuel during summer months.

Taxes also play a role in the price on gas. The city of Selma has a 4-cent levy tax on every gallon gas, which is higher than the county tax of 2 cents.

Cynthia Mitchell, the treasurer for the city of Selma, said that the tax is an imposed tax just like other levy taxes in other cities in the state.

“No matter how high gas gets, the city will get 4 cents per gallon of the sale,” said Mitchell. “This tax goes into a general fund like any other sales tax.”

The city’s general fund pays for salaries of city employees and most city services.

The state of Alabama has a 38.6-cent tax per gallon on regular gas and a 45.6-cent tax on diesel. This includes and two-cent inspection fee and a 1-cent per gallon transportation fee. Cities and counties may charge levies anywhere from 0.5 cents-to- 6 cents per gallon.

Dallas County and Valley Grande currently have a 2-cent tax on gasoline. Surrounding areas such as Montgomery County and Clanton both have a 1-cent tax.

Other factors such as pricing strategy also play a role in gas prices for an area. The NACS also says that ultimately the retailers examine how much they want to charge and that may depend on the current market conditions.

The current average price per gallon of gas in Selma is at $2.61. The average for Prattville is $2.52 per gallon.

According to the Alabama AAA, the Raceway on Highland Avenue and Murphy USA on Highway 14 East have the lowest prices for gas in Selma at $2.51 per gallon.