In Pennsylvania, 2017 Brings Higher Gas Taxes, Turnpike Tolls But End to Registrtaion Stickers

Along with New Year's resolutions, 2017 rings in some new laws for Pennsylvanians.

Gas will cost more, and it will cost you more to drive on the turnpike.

There is some relief as well — residents won't have to worry about getting a vehicle registration sticker.

And, soon, you will be able to pick up a six pack at your beer distributor.

Here's a roundup of some changes to look out for in 2017:

No More Registration Stickers

Beginning in 2017, the state Department of Transportation will no longer issue the little registration stickers for the corner of license plates.

PennDOT says the change will save more than $3 million in production and mailing costs, some of which will be used to buy automated license plate readers which permit police to scan license plates to see if the vehicle is registered and has insurance. [[408849485, C]]

Motorists will still need to renew their registrations, have their vehicles inspected and present a registration card to law enforcement when asked.

Gasoline Taxes on the Rise

On Jan. 1, Pennsylvania's wholesale tax on gasoline increased by 8 cents a gallon, to 58.3 cents a gallon, assuming wholesalers pass through the full cost.

The tax increase is the third under Act 89, a bipartisan 2013 law that boosted annual contracts for bridge and road work by about $1 billion a year, according to PennDOT.

Under Act 89, the gas tax increased by 9 cents in 2014 and 10 cents in 2015. There was no increase in 2016, so the cumulative increase — including the January hike — is 27 cents per gallon over four years.

Combined with federal gas tax of 18.4 cents, Pennsylvanians will be paying 76.7 cents per gallon in taxes — the highest in the nation. [[408503825, C]]

Turnpike Tolls Rise Again

A 6-percent increase in tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for both cash and E-ZPass goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Jan 8.

According to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the most common toll for a passenger vehicle will increase next year from $1.16 to $1.23 for E-ZPass customers and from $1.80 to $1.95 for cash customers.

The most common toll for tractor-trailers will increase from $9.59 to $10.17 for E-ZPass customers and from $13.60 to $14.45 for cash customers.

The turnpike commission has said annual hikes of up to 6 percent are possible through 2044.

New Law To 'Free The Six-Pack'

Beginning Jan. 14, beer distributors will be able to sell beer in any quantity, including 32-ounce bottles, four-packs, six-packs and growlers.

Beer distributors had long sought to loosen restrictions on the beer quantities they could sell which had limited them to selling cases, 12-packs and kegs.

The new law also allows sporting venues to sell mixed drinks and lets bars start serving alcohol at 9 a.m. Sundays, without a requirement to serve food.

The changes are being made on the heels of other updates to the state's liquor laws that have included allowing the sale of wine at grocery stores and specifying that convenience stores can sell beer. [[409246685, C]]

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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