Midnight will mean more than a new year for local motorists.

As soon as the ball drops, Yorkers can kiss current gas prices goodbye, analysts said.

Costs associated with the bipartisan transportation bill passed in November by state lawmakers will be revealed at the pump as early as 12:01 a.m. Jan. 1, as wholesalers pass on increased taxes to consumers.

Starting Wednesday, the plan allows the state to gradually lift the limit on the wholesale tax on gasoline, which has been capped at $1.25 per gallon since 1981. The plan also eliminates the current 12-cents-a-gallon retail gas tax and folds it into the wholesale tax.

On Jan. 1 it means an extra dime, and by 2018 the tax bill paid by wholesalers will increase by 28.5 cents per gallon.

An analyst and local wholesaler agreed that bill will be fully passed on to consumers.

"Wholesalers are not altruists. They will pass on the tax increase to consumers, just as all businesses pass on costs to consumers," said Gregg Laskoski, senior analyst with GasBuddy.com.

Shipley Energy, a wholesaler based in York, will pass on the costs, said spokesman Bob Astor.

As soon as the calendar flips to 2014, gasoline tax bills climb from 50.7 cents per gallon to 60.2 cents per gallon. Diesel motor fuels will increase 12.9 cents per gallon from 62.5 cents per gallon to 75.4 cents per gallon.

"There will be an immediate impact. A tax increase of this size can't be absorbed by retail merchants, and they will absolutely pass it on to consumers," Astor said.


Consumers will pay more for gas on top of already-higher prices, Laskoski said.

The average cost for a gallon of gas in York was $3.44 on Monday -- 14 cents more than the U.S. average of $3.30 and 3 cents less than the Pennsylvania average of $3.47.

Local gas prices have climbed 5 cents in the last week and 20 cents in the last month because of increasing crude oil prices, Laskoski said.

GasBuddy.com predicts prices to increase across the country in 2014. Throughout the commonwealth, prices are expected to peak between $3.85 and $3.99, according to analysts.

As gas prices increase in Pennsylvania, more motorists will likely cross borders to buy cheaper fuel in neighboring states, according to Patrick DeHaan, another senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com.

On Monday, gas prices were 2 cents cheaper per gallon in Maryland, 16 cents cheaper in New Jersey, 11 cents cheaper in West Virginia, 9 cents cheaper in Ohio and 20 cents more in New York.

"I probably won't drive to Maryland to save 2 cents. But if they have gas prices 20 cents less than ours I might take the 20-minute drive," said Amy Grove, a 39-year-old Leader Heights resident.

Most motorists will pay $22 more in 2014 and $132 more by 2018, according to the governor's Transportation Funding Advisory Commission.

The commission based its calculations on a driver who gets 24 miles per gallon on one vehicle that is driven 12,000 miles per year.

"Motorists will pay roughly $2.50 more a week in five years, which is a reasonable approach," said Rich Kirkpatrick, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The bill paid by consumers will give the state an extra $351 million in 2014 and grow to $2.3 billion by 2018 for safer and improved bridges, roads and public transit.

"There are tremendous benefits coming because of the additional revenue. The consequences of not doing anything would be a far greater cost to consumers," Kirkpatrick said.

Pennsylvania currently ranks 39th in the nation for the condition of its badly worn roads and bridges, according to the Reason Foundation's Annual Highway Report.

Pennsylvania has the largest number of structurally deficient bridges in the nation -- more than 4,000 -- and the state has 9,200 poor roadway miles, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

GasBuddy analysts and the Shipley Energy spokesman agreed something had to be done, even if the fix isn't cheap.

"The costs are increasing incrementally, and that's a good thing. It could've been worse and happened in one big swoop," Astor said.

--Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.