South Carolina lawmakers override guv’s veto, enact diesel tax increase

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South Carolina will increase its fuel taxes by 2 cents each July over the next six years.South Carolina will increase its fuel taxes by 2 cents each July over the next six years.

Truckers will begin seeing increased diesel costs in South Carolina beginning July 1, when diesel taxes in the state are scheduled to spike. The state’s legislature overrode Gov. Henry McMaster’s veto of the fuel tax increase last week.

Beginning this year, fuel taxes will increase by 2 cents each July through 2022 in South Carolina for a total of a 12-cent increase, meant to benefit the state’s infrastructure. The state’s current fuel tax is 16 cents on both gasoline and diesel and will increase to 28 cents by the end of the increases.

When McMaster vetoed the legislation on May 9, he explained via a Facebook post that currently, more than one-fourth of gas taxes in the state are used for programs other than roads and that what is spent on roads is spent on the wrong roads. McMaster went on to say reforming how the state’s Department of Transportation spends the tax dollars, the tax hike “would be totally unnecessary.” Within 24 hours, both chambers of the state’s legislature voted to override his veto, thus enacting the law.

A road use fee for truckers will also be implemented as part of the new law, beginning Jan. 1, 2019. The fee will be collected at the same time as the registration fees and will replace the ad valorem taxes.

Tennessee and California lawmakers have also voted to increase fuel taxes in their states recently. Tennessee will raise the diesel tax by 10 cents over the next three years, while California will increase the tax on diesel fuel by 20 cents later this year.