Gas group fights “political message” at pumps

The trade group that represents gas stations across Illinois has voted to file a lawsuit over a new requirement that politicians get credit for suspending the state’s gas tax.

Governor Pritzker pushed for a six-month pause on an annual increase in the state’s gas tax, which currently sits at 39-cents per gallon. A little noticed clause in the law also requires gas station owners to pay for and place signs on their pumps informing drivers about the delay in the gas tax hike.

If gas stations don’t place a 4 x 8 inch sign on pumps sharing the news that the gas tax increase is temporarily suspended, they could face a $500 fine each day. The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association’s board of directors has voted to authorize staff to file a lawsuit. 

“The state is compelling political speech with this law,” said CEO Josh Sharp.

“This law requires us to post a message about delaying a tax increase for six months and we don’t think that’s right so we’re going to court to stop it.”

The signs do not specify a political party or politician. The signs would read:  “As of July 1, 2022, the State of Illinois has suspended the inflation adjustment to the motor fuel tax through December 31, 2022. The price on this pump should reflect the suspension of the tax increase.”

A spokesperson for Gov. Pritzker responded with a statement:

“Informing consumers of the gas tax relief they are entitled to is a practice that dates back to 2000 under a Republican administration and does not promote the Governor or the lawmakers, including nearly every Republican, who voted for the measure. However, it ensures consumers see the benefit of bipartisan action.”

The group represents 5,000 gas station and retail locations across Illinois.

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