The fuel tax in our state is almost 20 cents per gallon below that of North Carolina and almost 10 cents per gallon below that of Georgia. Residents of Charlotte, Savannah, Augusta, Tryon and other border communities are aware of significantly lower fuel prices just across the state line and, when convenient, fill their tanks in South Carolina. Truckers traveling I-20, I-26, I-85 and I-95 all know of lower fuel prices in South Carolina.
Look at all the thriving truck stops along I-85 between Gaffney and the state line, followed by the almost total absence of truck stops between the state line and Charlotte.
Lower fuel prices lure shoppers to border areas generating sales tax revenue to our state as well. By way of example, Ingles Gas Express in Landrum, S.C., has seven fuel bays serving its primarily North Carolina customers. Cheap fuel has helped make Ingles Market of Landrum the pre-eminent grocer serving the Tryon/Columbus/Saluda, N.C., area.
Also don’t overlook income tax paid by owners of retail outlets in border areas who benefit from the patronage of non-residents lured to our state by its cheaper fuel prices.
The unintended beneficiaries of a South Carolina fuel tax hike could be the treasuries of our neighboring states. Tax revenue to South Carolina might be better enhanced by our state placing billboards in the adjoining two states along highways leading to South Carolina advising: “Wait. Don’t stop now. Fuel tax is lower just ahead in South Carolina.”
W. WALLACE GREGORY
Folly Creek Way