Gasoline nearly 2 cents more a gallon in Washoe County beginning July 1

Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 3:04 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Reno resident Kathy Bagliere fills up her tank begrudgingly.

With gas prices more than $6.00 a gallon here, she says choices need to be made. “Try to figure out what to do, groceries, you know taking your kids to school, taking my dog to get groomed,” says Bagliere. But beginning July 1, 2022, an additional 1.89 cent gas tax will be added on to that gallon of gas.

Unique to Washoe County, it will go to mostly roads. Kathy says that doesn’t make her feel any better.

“No, I’m sorry that doesn’t,” she says.

Back in 2008 voters approved a fuel tax with money going to improve and construct roads.

It became part of county code and state statute when passed and is based upon a ten-year trend of the Producer Price Index. That index measures the average change over time of the going wholesale price for certain goods and services.

“It’s not going back to the federal government, it’s not going to the oil companies, it’s staying right here in our community to build roads,” says Lauren Ball with the Regional Transportation Commission.

Ball says the $558 million generated is for roadway improvements over the next thirty years.

Each year the Regional Transportation Commission is briefed on this annual fuel tax so there is no confusion about what else it means.

“Washoe County has outstanding bonds that are secured by the fuel tax,” said Adam Spear, legal counsel with the RTC. “And when it issued those bonds, it made promises to the bond holders that it wouldn’t change the fuel tax as long as the bonds were outstanding. That Washoe County Code also states that the fuel tax won’t be repealed while those bonds are outstanding,” said Spear at the May 20, 2022 RTC meeting.

Even if this gas tax could be suspended or dropped all together--which it can’t because of laws--keep in mind taxpayers would still be on the hook to pay for the bonds, which this gas tax pays for currently.

Those outstanding bonds total $312 million.

After the 1.89 cent tax increase, Washoe County drivers will pay a total of 43.79 cents in taxes on a gallon of gasoline beginning July 1.

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