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Federal taxes could affect gas prices

While gas prices have been rising for the past twenty years, that hasn't been because of federal taxes. But, that could be changing soon.

The current sales tax of 18.3 cents per gallon of regular and 24.4 cents for diesel goes to the Federal Highway Trust Fund. That money funds road construction and maintenance, and mass transit. Congress has used the general treasury to keep the trust fund active, but now says the fund could go broke by August if nothing is done. That could lead to problems in fixing and maintening roads and building new ones.

Mitzi Morea, a resident of Ft. Walton Beach says "No one wants to pay for it, but everyone wants the roads to be improved and maintained well."

The goal is to raise taxes on regular and diesel gas by twelve cents over two years, and allow congress to raise it more to adjust for inflation in the future. Amanda James manages the Dodge's Chicken Store in Ft. Walton Beach. She says the store tries to keep prices down as much as possible, but that they hear customers frustration with gas prices daily.

"I'm going to say about every day we do. We constantly are having people, 'oh, your gas prices went up,' and it's a constant, it's a daily thing."

But, she says people still buy.

"We're still selling just as much gas as we've been selling, even with the prices going up."

Heather Gray says if the tax drives gas prices up, frustration levels will go with it.

"There's times where I don't even go anywhere because the gas isn't in the tank for him to get to work and for me to take the kids to the beach."

Chad Perillard drives a diesel truck for his job. He says more taxes raising prices will have an impact on his customers.

"You have to compensate for it somehow. Twenty percent out of our service call goes to the truck. So obviously you'd have to raise that."

Sponsors of the bill say the need for additional funds comes from the rise in construction costs, and the nation's aging infrastructure.