Baby boomers in search of reducing their expenses across the board may want to look beyond North Carolina to its neighbor immediately to the South. A recent Wall Street Journal article, citing The Tax Foundation, indicates that state taxes on gasoline at the pump are twice as high in North Carolina as they are in South Carolina. North Carolina charges motorists 34.6 cents for every gallon of gas, second only to Florida among Southern states; the Sunshine State pumps 36.8 cents from every gallon of gas. South Carolina, on the other hand, assesses motorists just 16.8 cents per gallon, the second lowest in the nation after Alaska (12.3 cents).
The differences in gas tax assessments certainly are not reflected in the differences in the prices of a gallon of gas. But there is a correlation between states with the highest taxes and the overall prices per gallon. The gas companies, after all, must have their profits.
Put in real terms, if you burn through a tank of gas each week and fill up with 15 gallons 52 times annually, here is what you are paying in taxes to the three Southern states, respectively:
South Carolina -- $ 873.60
North Carolina -- $1,799.20
Florida -- $1,913.60
According to AAA, the current prices of a gallon of gas in the three states is $2.03 in South Carolina, $2.19 in North Carolina and $2.28 in Florida. The differences certainly aren’t enough to swing a decision one way or another on which state is the best for relocation. But one thing is for sure; moving from a high gas tax state like Pennsylvania, where the gas tax will amount to $3,026.40 annually on the same basis as above, will help save serious dollars for those who burn a lot of gas. The cost of a gallon of gas today in Pennsylvania averages $2.53. Moving to South Carolina from Pennsylvania will save 50 cents per gallon, or roughly $390 a year in gasoline (based on one fill-up per week), enough to pay for golf club dues for a month, a few great meals in Charleston, or a brand new Titleist driver.