Record US oil production softens blow of Illinois gas tax increase

Just in time for Independence Day, Illinois’ gasoline tax doubled this week from 19 cents to 38 cents per gallon. Illinois now boasts the third-highest gasoline tax in the country, and such taxes are responsible for a significant chunk of what consumers wind up paying at the pump.

But fortunately, as the Arlington Heights Daily Herald reported Tuesday, “many consumers were spared massive sticker shock” thanks largely to “a robust supply of U.S. oil related to fracking.”

Indeed, the United States’ ongoing oil boom can be credited for keeping Illinois gasoline prices far lower than they otherwise would be in the wake of the state’s latest tax hike. U.S. oil production recently surpassed 12 million barrels per day, a 140 percent increase from 2005. As Argonne National Laboratory expert Don Hillebrand told the Daily Herald, “When there’s volatility, the U.S. has the capacity to start pumping. We can naturally bring down prices by opening up other sources of oil.”

Click here to read to full Southern Illinoisan op-ed.