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Gasoline Excise Tax - Historical Revenues: Fact Sheet

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The federal government has levied a tax on gasoline since 1932. For many years, the proceeds of the tax went into the general fund of the Treasury. Although at the time of enactment there was no earmarking of any kind, federal highway aid was continuously granted to the states. It was not until 1956, as part of a program for a 40,000-mile national system of interstate highways, that the federal gasoline tax was increased and the proceeds paid into a trust fund set up to finance the federal government’s share (90%) of the cost of the interstate highway system. With the passage of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, the gasoline tax returned (at least in part) to the role it served before 1957: a general fund revenue source. Included in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-34) are provisions that return the general fund portion of the tax back to the Highway Trust Fund and reauthorizes the tax collected for the Leaking Underground Storage Tank trust fund beginning October 1, 1997.


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