Better top off the tank by Thursday night!

Starting Friday (July 1), Washington will own the second-highest tax rate in the country (trailing only Pennsylvania) when our per-gallon rate is increased by nearly five more cents. The price you will then be paying at the pump -- when combined with the federal tax of 18.4 cents -- will total 86.2 cents per gallon.

This is phase two of an increase that first kicked in last August with a seven-cent hike as part of a package called Connecting Washington, spearheaded by 14th Legislative District Senator Curtis King (R-Yakima). The $16 billion funding package is an investment in state transportation over the next 16 years.

Projects and programs to be funded by the tax include:

  • $9.4 billion for state highways and local roads
  • $1.4 billion state highway maintenance, operations and preservation
  • $1.3 billion for non-highway projects such as bike paths, walkways, rail and transit
  • $602 million for ferries and terminals
  • $300 million for fish barriers

Also scheduled to increase on the first of July are vehicle registration fees. They will increase by $15 to $35 – depending on weight. The total for a six-year enhanced driver license or ID card, which can be used instead of a  passport at some borders, will be almost tripled in cost, to $54.

If you own an electric car, get ready to grab your ankles as well. Beginning Friday, drivers will have to pay $150 a year to register your car which is an increase of $50.

To put it in practical terms, every time you fill up a 20-gallon tank, you will, in essence, be writing a check to the Washington State Department of Transportation to the tune of $13.56.