Sales tax on gasoline going back up Thursday in Allegany County

Motorists re-fueling in Allegany County, NY, over the Labor Day Weekend likely will be paying more in sales tax as a result of the county Board of Legislators allowing a gas cap tax holiday to expire Thursday.

County Administrator Carissa Knapp confirmed to Allegany Hope this morning that sales tax on gasoline and diesel fuel will return to 4.5 percent on an entire purchase, versus being waived since June 1 on all amounts over $3 per gallon.

The three-month gas tax “holiday” break had been estimated to save motorists about six cents per gallon.

A state sales tax suspension, reported at 16-cents per gallon, will continue through at least the end of the year, along with a break in neighboring Cattaraugus County, according to the latest list from the State Sales Tax Department.

The exact impact is expected to be difficult to see at the pump due to retailers having a choice as to what they charge.

Even though the sales tax had been waived to retailers, effective June 1, gas prices escalated in general to the $5 per gallon range before peaking, overcoming visual impacts of the sales tax suspension, and now have been sliding slowly back toward $4, with the national average under that amount.

Therefore, motorists may notice an increase in prices or costs may remain at current levels for a longer period of time while actual wholesale prices to retailers decrease.

Our tracking of gas prices during the past three months through the website has found generally lower gas prices in Central Allegany than in surrounding counties, with the Belmont area having some of the lowest. This has reversed in the past two-to-three weeks, with prices coming down faster in the Wellsville area than in Belmont.

The lowest reported rate on the Gas Buddy site as of this writing is at the 7-Eleven in Canaseraga at $4.18 per gallon, some 11-cents less than what appears to be a general $4.29 per gallon cost in various part of the area, and a few cents less than the $4.26 rate in Wellsville.

County Treasurer Terry Ross reported to the Board’s Budget Committee this month that the county, even with the tax break, still has received some five percent more in sales tax than at the same time last year, or more than $800,000, with an increase of some 3.5 percent in July. She termed the increase “pretty good.”

Knapp noted the county is unable to determine whether the five percent is due primarily to inflation or more purchases occurring year-over-year.

National reports indicate that consumers are starting to go back into stores more, versus online shopping. Allegany County has appeared to benefit from online purchases, with its general sales tax rate, at 4.5 percent, being the third highest in the state, surpassed only by Erie and Oneida counties at 4.75, an amount it doesn’t receive if consumers travel to neighboring counties.