Section I

The tables in this section show the volume of motor fuel used for highway and nonhighway purposes. The term "motor fuel" applies to gasoline and all other fuels, including special fuels, coming under the purview of the State motor-fuel tax laws. "Special fuels" include diesel fuel and, to the extent they can be quantified, liquefied petroleum gases such as propane. Gasohol, a blend of gasoline and fuel alcohol, is included with gasoline in all motor fuel tables in this section.

In some instances, revisions or corrections have been made in previously published data; consequently, the figures shown supersede those in Highway Statistics Summaries 1945, 1955, 1965, 1975, and 1985.


The first tax on gasoline was adopted by the Oregon Legislature in 1919 to raise revenues for the maintenance of State highways. By 1929, all States were imposing a tax on gasoline and three years later a one-cent-per-gallon Federal tax was enacted as part of the Revenue Act of 1932.

By 1986, diesel fuel was taxed by all of the States. In some States, diesel fuel is taxed at a higher rate than gasoline mainly because of the greater fuel efficiency achieved by diesel powered vehicles.

Table MF-205 gives a history of the motor-fuel tax rates of the States and Federal government since the adoption of the first tax in 1919.

The weighted average State motor-fuel tax for gasoline has increased from 3.35 cents per gallon in 1930, the first full year in which were collected in all States to 18.5 cents in 1995. At the end of 1995, the Federal tax was 18.4 cents per gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel. Both gasoline and diesel rates include 4.3 cents per gallon for Federal deficit reduction.

State motor-fuel tax revenues during the period 1919-1995 are recorded in Table MF-201 by national totals. Refunds paid, non-highway gasoline tax receipts (principally aviation and marine use) dedicated to the pertinent facilities, and other miscellaneous receipts are shown separately. Table MF-201A shows net gallonage receipts ( after refunds and non-highway gasoline dedications), miscellaneous receipts, and net total receipts on a State-by-State basis.


Motor-fuel gallonage taxed by the States is given in Table MF-202. This table provides tax-related data for revenue analysis and shows gallonage taxed, or fully refunded whether or not the fuel was used on the highway. The amount of motor-fuel used for highway and non-highway purposes regardless of tax treatment is shown in tables MF-221, MF-224T, MF-225, and MF-226. Table MF-233GLA shows gasohol sales, by State, for those States that were able to report data separately from gasoline for the years 1980-1992. Table MF-233E shows estimated use of gasohol for 1993-1995. (Gasohol is defined as any blend of motor gasoline and ethanol of which 10 percent or more of the product is ethanol.)


The records of State agencies that administer the State taxes on motor fuel are the underlying source for most of the data presented in these tables. The FHWA estimates highway use of gasoline by subtracting estimated nonhighway use from the total use reported by the States.

Over the last several years, there have been numerous changes in State fuel tax laws and procedures that have resulted in improved fuel tax compliance, especially for diesel fuel. The improved compliance has resulted in increased fuel volumes being reported by the States to FHWA. The trends shown in the tables reflect both improvements in tax compliance and changes in consumption. More information on fuel tax compliance issues may be found in The Joint Federal/State Motor Fuel Tax Compliance Project Fiscal Year 1994 Midyear Report.