Evanston’s City Council voted Monday to increase the city’s motor fuel tax rate 33%.

But that’s only half the increase the council’s car-free member, Ald. Devon Reid (8th), had requested.

Reid said the money could be used to increase funding for the city’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan.

The existing local motor fuel tax, at a rate of 3-cents per gallon, generated $822,000 in revenue for the city last year.

For a typical driver who drives about 14,000 miles a year with a car that averages 25 miles per gallon, a 2-cent per gallon increase would add about $11.20 to annual fuel costs.

With gas in the Chicago area costing about $4.50 a gallon these days, that typical driver is already paying about $2,520 for 560 gallons of gasoline a year.

Juan Geracaris.

Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th) said he was concerned about how Reid’s plan would affect working class citizens who have to commute.

And Cara Pratt, the city’s sustainability and resilience coordinator, said low income people are more likely to have older, gas-guzzling cars, which would make a tax hike regressive.

Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd) said she’d drive to Skokie to buy her gas if it’s cheaper there. She proposed cutting the gas tax hike to 1-cent.

Reid agreed to her suggestion and the smaller increase was approved on a 7-2 vote with Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) joining Geracaris in voting no.

But another Reid proposal, to raise the wheel tax $5 next year, on top of an already implemented $5 increase this year, failed on a 3-6 vote, with only Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) and Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) joining Reid in supporting it.

In other taxing news, the City Council voted to increase charges for refuse carts and some other trash removal fees by 1.8% and raise water rates 5%.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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