Planes, trains, and automobiles


Many hidden taxes are associated with travel. For example, when you pull up to the pump, you can clearly see the price for the gas, but the “taxes included” disclosure is usually posted somewhere else. How much of what you pay goes to tax revenue? Well, it varies by each state and its tax policy at the time, but it can range from 8¢ per gallon (Alaska) to 47.7¢ per gallon (California). (Source: Tax Foundation, Tax Data, February 25, 2011)

Taxes associated with traveling by air can include ticket excise tax, flight segment tax, arrival and departure fees, September 11 security fees, passenger facility fees, and–if your travel is international–agricultural inspection, customs, and immigration user fees. There are 16 or more fees that can add up to $61 (or 20% of your total cost) or more. (Source: Airlines for America,, 2012) And those are just the U.S. taxes; there can be foreign taxes as well.

Car rental, hotel, and meal taxes can also add up. The GBTA Foundation, the education and research foundation of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), reported from its 2011 annual study of the top 50 U.S. travel destination cities that the travel taxes and fees imposed on travel-related services increased the traveler’s cost an average of 56% over and above any general sales taxes paid, and that taxes for a single night at the national average room rate of $95.61 were $13.12. The combined lodging taxes levied by state, county, and city averaged 13.73%. (Source: News Release, July 21, 2011,

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