McHenry County gas station employees concerned with business following tax increase

Gas station employees concerned with business after tax increase

Caleb Ruff of Woodstock puts gasoline into his vehicle at Gas Cap on Monday, July 1, 2019 in Woodstock.
Caleb Ruff of Woodstock puts gasoline into his vehicle at Gas Cap on Monday, July 1, 2019 in Woodstock.

Michelle Diazleal, a gas station clerk at Gas Cap Fuels in Woodstock, said that when it comes to gas prices, her business tries to be the lowest in town to stay competitive with bigger chains, such as Mobil and Shell.

As of Monday morning, Gas Cap Fuels offered fuel at $3.01 a gallon, which is the cheapest rate a motorist can buy fuel in Woodstock, according to Gas Buddy.

But with business already slow because the station currently is only able to offer one grade of gas, Diazleal said she’s afraid the 19-cent-a-gallon tax increase on fuel in Illinois will stall business even further.

“I don’t know how it will work,” Diazleal said.

The tax increase came as part of a $45 billion capital plan signed by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday.

The capital plan, referred to as Rebuild Illinois, allocated $33.2 billion for transportation projects, $4.3 billion for state facilities, $3.5 billion for education projects, $1.9 billion for economic development projects, $1.2 billion for conservation projects, $465 million for health and human services and
$420 million for broadband deployment.

One of the many road projects targeted in Pritzker’s plan is the widening of Route 47 from Route 14 to Route 120, a project that will cost about $57 million.

“Widening IL 47 is key to creating economic growth by enhancing mobility, fixing infrastructure, and improving safety in Woodstock and McHenry County,” according to a report from the Pritzker administration. “This section of IL 47 from US 14 to IL 120 has the highest existing traffic along the entire corridor and some of the highest crash rates.”

An investment into a career, technical and manufacturing center in McHenry also is proposed as part of a $281.9 million investment into community college projects.

Other revenue streams to fund this plan include an increase to vehicle registration, a $1 cigarette tax increase and a gaming expansion to include sports betting.

Adil Ghafoor, manager of Clark Gasoline in Algonquin, said the tax increases on gas and cigarettes will put any business, big or small, in any county in big trouble – especially on top of additional fuel and delivery charges.

“It affects everything and everybody,” Ghafoor said.

As of 1 p.m. Monday, Clark Gasoline was charging $2.89 a gallon for fuel, making it the lowest rate for gas in Algonquin, according to Gas Buddy.

Caleb Ruff of Woodstock said that although he wasn’t happy that gas prices were rising, he doesn’t think it will affect his travels much.

“Most of my driving is local,” Ruff said.

According to Gas Buddy, the average retail price for gasoline Monday in Illinois was about $2.85, which is only about 5 cents more than Sunday’s average and several cents fewer than the average at the beginning of June.

Also taking effect Monday is a new law cracking down on cellphone use while driving.

Before the new law, motorists caught texting behind the wheel received a warning ticket.

But under the new law, those caught using or holding an electronic device will receive a moving violation that stays on the driver’s record. Three moving violations within a 12-month period could result in a suspended license.

A $75 fine will be imposed for the first offense, $100 will be imposed for the second, $125 for the third and $150 for additional offenses.

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