By Kimberly Davis

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — Drivers in New Jersey will soon be paying more at the pump. State officials say the nine-cent increase that takes effect Thursday is meant to offset lower consumption trends due to the pandemic.

Residents say it seems like New Jersey loves sticking it to them. Two weeks ago, tolls increased and now, the gas tax is increasing. And of course, residents aren’t happy about it.

“I understand why they do it from a fiscal perspective, but it still kind of sucks. No one wants to hear that their gas prices are going to increase,” Woodbury resident Isaiah Owens said.

When the clock strikes midnight, get ready to shovel out more cash if you’re looking to fill up at the pump.

“It seems like they always increase the gas tax when gas prices are low and then when gas prices go way back up again, it’s still sitting on the amount you’re paying for the gasoline,” West Deptford resident Frank Bickert said.

The gas tax in the Garden State is increasing by roughly 22%. That means you’ll be paying an additional 9.3 cents per gallon, starting Oct. 1.

“It’s nothing new in New Jersey. Prices always go up in New Jersey, it never goes down. It was really decent in the beginning of COVID because you could fill up and you weren’t really going anywhere, especially in New Jersey, West Deptford resident Phyllis Williams said.

But that may have contributed to the gas tax increase.

The increase was triggered after the gasoline tax collections fell $154 million short of expectations.

A 2016 state law requires the tax rate to be adjusted each October to ensure it generates enough cash for New Jersey’s transportation trust fund.

“When the taxes are so high, whenever another tax is implemented it kind of makes you feel like, man when does it stop?” Owens said.

South Jersey residents say they’re not surprised by the increase but have some advice if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck.

“Wherever your area is, wherever you get to go to, if you know good spots just let people know since it is going up,” one resident said.

At 50.7 cents per gallon, New Jersey’s gas tax will be the fourth-highest in the United States, behind California, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

Kimberly Davis