Connecticut residents can expect to see a sharp increase in diesel fuel prices starting July 1, and trucking companies say it will be passed on to consumers.
The 9 cents per gallon increase is based on an annual adjustment set by the Department of Revenue Services. Although the state suspended the gas tax until December, prices continue to rise due to inflation and the price of crude oil.
Wayne Pesce, president of the Connecticut Food Association, which represents food retailers and distribution suppliers in the state, said it will force more people to make tough choices.
“Some of the things we’re seeing,” he said, “is that consumers are swapping out both beef and pork – and even poultry, in some cases – and they’re eating a lot more rice and pasta, because they make decisions based on the income they have to spend on food.”
Diesel, the primary fuel source for most commercial trucks, also produces health-damaging emissions, including ground-level ozone and particulate matter. On Wednesday, Connecticut’s average diesel price was $6.17, 40 cents above the national average.
In addition to the July increase, the state will also implement a freeway use tax on large commercial trucks starting in January. Michael Fox, executive director of Gasoline and Automotive Service Dealers of America, which represents hundreds of independent gas stations in the state, said suspending the current diesel tax of just over 40 cents per gallon could help Connecticut residents meet their basic needs.
“They can also suspend the increase scheduled for July 1,” he said. “With over $900 million in budget surpluses, the state can afford to do this. It would be an immediate relief to all consumers in the state of Connecticut.”
Earlier this month, Governor Ned Lamont and other state officials announced a diesel fuel tax exemption for farmers and agricultural producers. Fox said they are also calling for the suspension of the freeway use tax, which is based on vehicle weight and ranges from 2.5 cents to 17.5 cents per mile.
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