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Gas tax increase bringing in money

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Bikes and cars follow the rules of the road.
Bikes and cars on the road.
MPR Photo/Jim Bickal

New numbers show the state's gas tax increase is already bringing in more money, even though Minnesotans are pumping less gas.

The state gas tax went from 20 to 22 cents per gallon on April 1. The increase was part of a transportation bill that became law earlier this year.

The state has only collected data through April, and during that month, Minnesotans actually pumped less gas than they did in March, about three million fewer gallons.

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But with the higher tax, the state still brought in $3 million more in April than it did during March. The gas tax raised nearly $44 million dollars that month.

That should not surprise Minnesotans who have been paying a lot more than just the two-cent-a gallon increase.

In the past month, the average price of unleaded regular gas in Minnesota has increased 25 cents, according to minnesotagasprices.com.

The state Revenue Department -- which collects the tax data -- says it's too early to recognize any trends, but that won't stop some lawmakers from meeting today to discuss how the money's being spent.

The two-cent increase that took effect April 1 was the first installment of an eventual 8 1/2 cents per gallon hike that was included in a transportation bill that became law earlier this year.