Sen. Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township) at a press conference in 2017. (Karen Kasler | Statehouse News Bureau)

Senator Proposes Prepaid Gas Taxes As Way To Avoid Increase

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Senators have said they’re going to change the 10.7 cent gas tax increase that the House passed in the transportation budget. Gov. Mike DeWine says that’s too low, and the state needs an 18 cent hike. But one Republican senator has an idea that he says would eliminate the need for a tax increase.

Sen. Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township) said if Ohio drivers prepaid their 28 cents a gallon gas tax yearly when they register their vehicles, they could be assigned cards or codes that they could swipe when they fill up, and their pre-paid tax would be deducted since the state already got it.

But also: “15 to 18 percent of the fuel that is purchased in Ohio is purchased by out of state residents. And factoring in what some other senators have told me, their teenage daughters will never remember to swipe the card – you’re probably looking at a $400 million increase in revenue without increasing the tax,” said Coley.

Coley said exceptions could be made for low-income Ohioans who can’t afford the pre-payment, which he estimates would average around $200.