CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia's gas tax will go up 1.3 cents on Jan. 1.
The cause is a recalculation of the average wholesale gas price by the state Tax Department.
As a result, state consumers will go from paying 50.8 cents per gallon in taxes to 52.1 cents next year.
Both the state and federal government charge sales taxes on fuel. The taxes generate revenue for both state and federal highway funds and pay for virtually all road construction and maintenance.
The federal government charges a flat tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on unleaded gas. Diesel is taxed at 24.4 cents per gallon.
The state currently charges 33.4 cents in taxes for each gallon sold at the pump. That applies to both diesel and unleaded gasoline blends.
However, that tax is actually made up of two components.
The first is a flat 20.5-cent tax on each gallon sold. The second component is a variable tax of 5 percent based on the average wholesale price of motor fuel.
State law requires the tax commissioner to recalculate the average wholesale price of fuel in the state each year.
In November, tax officials determined the new state average wholesale price was $2.831 per gallon, up more than 25 cents from the $2.574 average calculated in November 2011.
As a result, the state's 5 percent variable gas tax went from 12.9 cents per gallon to 14.2 cents. The new rate will be in effect Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2013.
With the increase in the variable component, the state's overall gas tax will rise from 33.4 cents per gallon to 34.7 cents next year.
While it is an increase, it could have been much more.