You don't get to see the real price of gas at the pump

You don't get to see the real price of gas at the pump »Play Video
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- The price of a gallon of gas, KEPR knows it burns you every time you pull up to the pump. Well, what if we told you the price isn’t actually the real price for a gallon of gas? Washington Policy Center is pushing for what they call “Truth in Labeling.” It could impact your driving and possibly your voting too.

2014 could leave you feeling an even bigger pinch at the pump if a 12 cent gas tax is approved to fund a large transportation package.

“There are a lot of people who will notice,” said Chris Cargill, EWA Director with Washington Policy Center. “People notice when gas goes up 5 cents a gallon; gas goes up 10 cents a gallon. If gas goes up 12 cents, they're really going to notice."

Most likely, you would notice too, but you probably aren't aware just how much the retail cost of gas has not gone up. “I don't think many people realize when they pull up to the gas pump how much they're paying already. If you add up state and federal taxes you’re paying almost 60 cents per gallon in gas tax,” said Cargill.

State and federal taxes added up, it comes out to 55.9 cents. This means, the gallon of gas retail isn’t the $3.09 you see advertised. It’s actually $2.54.

“Is it really,” asked Anthony Burrows. “I am kind of upset now.”

Gas is one of the few things we buy that tax is built into the price, but should it be?

“You don't see a pair of jeans where the price is tax included. You see the price of the jeans and then you go up to the cashier and that's when you pay for the tax," said Cargill.

“I think it would be better that way it would let you know at least where the money is going. It's not hidden under the table,” said Fredo Montez. “I don't know why we couldn't do that,” said Mary Earheart. “Then we could see what Washington is charging because they are high.”

Mary Earheart isn't the average Washingtonian, she runs a farm. Gas to her, is water to you. So let's take you. The average person in Washington drives 12,000 miles a year. The average car gets roughly 20 miles a gallon. At 37 cents, what you pay now in state taxes, that's $222 dollars you’re paying a year to Washington.

"That's $20 a month to use all the highways and getting access to where you want to go,” said Commissioner Joe Tortorelli with the Washington Transportation Commission. “The average person spends more on their cell phone bill than the ability to drive on Washington State roads.”

If the transportation package and the 10.5 cent tax with it, you're looking at $288 dollars a year. “Whether it is $2,000 dollars or $200, that's a lot of money for a lot of people so it's important for people know what they're paying,” said Cargill. “We need funding for transportation projects, there’s no question about that, and the money has to come from somewhere. The question is should people have that transparency so they can see how much they’re paying in taxes.”

Washington ranks 9th in the nation for highest gas taxes. California takes first, Hawaii second and New York is third.