Gas taxes mean cost discrepancy between Carson, Washoe

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Max Sandoval works in Reno, but lives in Carson City.. Before heading down I-580 North you'll always finding him fueling up in the Capital City if needed.

“I would imagine probably anywhere from, I've seen it 20-cent difference to 30-cent difference, and sometimes it might be 15 cents. So I save probably around, I have two automobiles, I know for one I save $65 a month because of my commute back and forth,” says Sandoval.

You could speculate state workers who work in Carson City but live in Reno do the same thing.

The cost difference is obvious, and it has been for several years now.
It all has to do with gas taxes.

“The gas tax for Carson City is 52 cents; in Washoe County it is close to 86 cents, just over 86 cents,” says Dawn Lietz, DMV Motor Carrier Division Administrator.

Back in 2010 Washoe County voters approved a measure that taxed gasoline based on the producer price index. While that tax can vary from year to year, it means an additional 33 cents a gallon.

Combine that with 23 cents in state taxes, 18 cents in federal taxes, and an additional one-cent county tax, you are paying 86 cents in taxes on a gallon of gas in Washoe County.

Conversely in Carson City, there is no index tax. That means there's only a 52 cents in taxes on a gallon of gas.

State law mandates taxes on gasoline must be used for transportation only.

“Everything we do from ditch maintenance, gutter maintenance, pavement maintenance, snowplowing, sanding, picking up the sand, sweeping roadways afterwards, the roadway markers, all of those things,” says Washoe County Assistant Manager Dave Solaro.

Because Washoe County's gas tax is based in part on the PPI and Carson City's is not, expect the difference between gas prices to continue to grow in the years to come.