During the time that Tom and I have been full-timing, diesel prices have gone down. Considering that we only get 8 miles to the gallon when we are towing, a moderate increase or decrease in diesel prices can have quite an impact on our cost of living. So we were pleasantly surprised to find that South Carolina has very low state gas taxes.
In case you aren’t aware, taxes usually add 50 to 80 cents per gallon on the price of gas or diesel. Every gallon of gas or diesel has excise taxes, environmental fees, storage tank taxes, and general state sales tax. Federal taxes add 18.4 cents per gallon and most states add sales taxes and some kind of state tax to fuel. South Carolina has one of the lowest rates in the country: only Alaska and New Jersey have lower fuel taxes.
South Carolina adds 16.75 cents per gallon as a state tax. Compare this to North Carolina’s 36.25 cents per gallon and you can understand why a lot of people in North Carolina drive to South Carolina to fill their tanks. If you stay along the interstate, fuel prices will be similar from state to state. But Tom and I like to use the GasBuddy app to find the lowest diesel prices in an area.
Our favorite station while we were in South Carolina was the Marathon just outside York, South Carolina. We were consistently able to fill up our tanks (112 gallons!) at 1.79 per gallon of diesel. This made it worth the 13 mile drive to York. The lowest price we have found in Ohio is 2.07 per gallon at the BP in Lexington. Not bad, but a considerable price difference when you get as much fuel as we do.
Looking at the national tax map for fuel (this is a very good map), Pennsylvania has the highest tax rate at 51.6 cents per gallon. I guess we don’t want to fill up too often in Pennsylvania!
Just in case you think people in South Carolina are getting off easy, they have an annual sales tax on cars. You have to pay a tax on the value of your car when you get your license plates renewed. The more your car is worth, the higher the tax. So people drive their cars as long as they can in South Carolina to pay less tax. You can be sure that taxes will get you one way or another!
We enjoyed the low diesel prices in South Carolina and are thankful that we spend time in Ohio and not Pennsylvania. We will continue to watch for the lowest prices wherever we are.