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3/6/2019 5:13:00 PM
Proposed Michigan gasoline tax could help Hoosier petroleum dealers, convenience stores
An off-ram from U.S. 31 to Niles-Buchanan Road in Niles, Michigan, shows the need for more infrastructure spending in the state. Staff photo by Robert Franklin
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An off-ram from U.S. 31 to Niles-Buchanan Road in Niles, Michigan, shows the need for more infrastructure spending in the state. Staff photo by Robert Franklin

Ed Semmler, South Bend Tribune Staff Writer

Michigan gas station operators near the Indiana border are concerned about a proposal to nearly triple gasoline taxes to improve the state’s aging roads.

On Tuesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for a 45-cent per gallon increase to the state’s current 26-cent per gallon fuel tax. The increase would give the state the distinction of having the highest fuel taxes in the nation.

And operators close to the Indiana border are concerned the proposed hike would put them at enough of a price disadvantage that it could make surviving very difficult, said Mark Griffin, president of the Michigan Petroleum Association and the Michigan Association of Convenience Stores. 

“We’re disappointed that her first salvo was to raise the tax,” Griffin said. “Clearly, gas station owners along the border will get whacked.”

If consumers are willing to drive 5 miles to save 2 cents per gallon, Griffin wondered how far they will travel to save as much as 40 cents per gallon.

“I’m absolutely concerned about the proposal,” said Craig Marzke, chief operating officer of Pri Mar Petroleum in St. Joseph and president of the state association of petroleum dealers and convenience stores. “It’s going to put a hurt on us and the dealers we supply.”

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