State's gasoline taxes mostly paid by Mississippi residents

By Steve Wilson
June 24, 2019

The majority of state’s gasoline tax was paid for by Mississippi residents from 2012 to 2018, according to an analysis of tourism data from the Mississippi Development Authority and the Department of Revenue.

Out-of-state visitors accounted for only 10.02 percent of the state’s gasoline tax revenues, on average, from 2012 to 2018. 

According to data from the DOR, the state averaged more than $419 million per year from 2012 to 2018 in gasoline tax revenue and an average of more than $42 million per year originated from out-of-state visitors.

YearTotal out of state tourist gas tax revenueState gas tax revenue% of gas taxes from tourists
2018 $    43,644,073.85  $            423,642,449 10.30%
2017 $    43,047,932.99  $            434,094,226 9.92%
2016 $    43,031,069.68  $            432,951,435 9.94%
2015 $    42,026,335.33  $            421,217,531 9.98%
2014 $    41,460,958.62  $            402,492,205 10.30%
2013 $    41,002,458.85  $            407,978,901 10.05%
2012 $    39,899,051.34  $            412,790,483 9.67%
Total $  294,111,880.66  $        2,935,167,230 --
Average $    42,015,982.95  $            419,309,604 10.02%

According to the MDA’s tourism economic impact report from 2018, 24 million visitors participated in the state’s economy. Of those, 20.2 percent came from Mississippi, leaving 19,152,000 from out of state.

Of the remainder, 11,874,240 booked a stay overnight in the state, while 7,277,760 just did a day trip.

We used an average of 24.7 miles per gallon for the average U.S. vehicle and an average round-trip distance (1,240 miles) for out-of-state travelers.

Assuming that the out-of-state traveler purchased 35 percent of their gasoline in Mississippi on their trip, that adds up to about 17.57 gallons bought at Magnolia State gas stations. That would add up to about $3.30 in gasoline tax paid per out-of-state, overnight vacationer.

As for day trip enthusiasts, they would likely purchase (assuming that they bought 35 percent of their fuel in this state and 24.7 miles per gallon) about 3.4 gallons per trip into Mississippi.  That adds up to about 64 cents of gasoline tax.

All tourism-related gasoline tax revenues in 2018 would add up to $52,460,176 and removing 20.2 percent of them to account for in-state residents leaves a total of $43,644,073.

Taxpayers will spend $1,105,236,550 on the Mississippi Department of Transportation, with $559 million coming from federal funds and the rest from the state’s petroleum tax. 

The Office of State Aid Roads will have an appropriation of $225,410,848 from special and federal funds, which will help maintain 25,857.04 miles of county roads that are considered “feeder” routes between the state highways. This money also goes to maintaining 5,368 bridges on these routes.

Right now, drivers in Mississippi pay 37.19 cents in state and federal taxes on every gallon of gasoline, about 11 cents a gallon less than the national average. The state’s gas tax was last increased in 1987. 

The federal gas tax has been 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. For every one cent increase, the state’s gasoline tax revenue ($423,642,449 in fiscal 2018) would increase by about $23 million.


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