‘I don't think it's the right time’: State gas tax increase of more than 9 cents takes effect

Drivers are now paying more at the pumps in New Jersey, as the state’s gas tax has risen by 22% or about 9 cents per gallon. The boost to 50.7 cents a gallon from 41.4 cents took effect Thursday.
“It is what it is,” says Lou Kirsh, of Edison. “We have to drive to work, so we have to pay it."
Fewer people have been driving since March amid Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay-at-home order due to coronavirus, which means less gas has been sold, is leading to the tax increase.
“Actually, in the time that we're living now, I don't think it's the right time to do that to people,” says Gary Rateau, of Somerset. “I think it's unfair."
Under a 2016 law beginning during the Christie administration, the gas tax helps to raise money for New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund to repair and improve roads and bridges. If enough gas is sold to provide enough money to fund transportation needs, there’s no additional tax.
But this year, there wasn’t enough money made to support the state’s trust fund, so the gas tax automatically increases to make up for the difference.
“It's a really tough time,” says Kirsh. “A lot of people still hurting, so it's kind of missed timed I think, but the people that are working, it's OK, but the people that are not working, I think it's really tough."
New Jersey's gas is the fourth highest taxed in the country.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.