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Cigarettes, gasoline and diesel fuel.  Taxes on these three of the products that convenience stores sell a lot of can have a big impact on how many sales are made.  When taxes skyrocket, people find ways to slow down their consumption.  When taxes are low, people spend more freely.

Nobody likes taxes, especially retail store owners, because taxes add to the cost of a product, and consumers these days are very cost-conscious.  But here in Arkansas, we don’t have it as bad as retailers (and consumers) in some states.  In this post, we’re going to look at Arkansas’ tax on gas, diesel fuel and cigarettes and compare the numbers with those in California, Texas, New York and Oklahoma.

In Arkansas, the gasoline tax is 21.87 cents per gallon.  Not great, but it’s 48.6 cents in California.  New York?  An even 49 cents.  In Texas, however, it’s 20 cents per gallon.

The tax on diesel fuel in Arkansas is 22.8 cents per gallon.  In California, it’s more than double at 51.5 cents.  In New York, it’s 49.5 cents.  Texas rings in at 20 cents per gallon, again the lowest among the four states.

Finally, the cigarette tax in Arkansas is $1.15 per pack.  It’s 87 cents in California.  In New York, the tax is a whopping $4.35 per pack – and New York City adds an additional $1.50.  Cigarette tax in Texas is $1.41.

Arkansas and Texas win out in this comparison.  But there’s more to look at than just these tax rates.  All three of the other states we’ve looked at here have numerous highly populated cities with massive amounts of traffic and predictable daily tie-ups.

In Arkansas – and Oklahoma, where Glidewell Distributing has many accounts – the driving is easier and folks don’t have to plan an expedition and pack extra food just to go down to the corner convenience store at 8 p.m. to fill up and buy cigarettes.  The relatively low taxes on gas, diesel fuel and cigarettes we have in Arkansas, coupled with cities and towns that you can get around fairly easily in (Little Rock is an exception at times), equal an environment that’s conducive to doing business.

Here are some numbers for contrast.  The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area has 6,526,000 people in it.  Houston by itself has 2,145,000.  Los Angeles is home to 3,819,000 people.  Orange County, Calif., has 3,055,000.  In Brooklyn, N.Y., there are 2,567 people.  And finally, when you’re looking for gas in New York City, you could be battling as many as 8,244,000 people.

By contrast, the entire state of Arkansas has 2,937,000 people, and Oklahoma is just slightly larger, with 3,791,000.  Convenience store owners in these states not only enjoy relatively low taxes on gas, diesel fuel and cigarettes but also roadways that people can drive on . . . conveniently.

(Oklahoma’s taxes on these three products are even lower than Arkansas’: gas, 17 cents; diesel fuel, 14 cents; cigarettes, $1.03 per pack.)

Glidewell Distributing is very watchful of the tax situation in Arkansas and Oklahoma, because our own business as well as our customers’ businesses depend on having an honest opportunity to do honest business without being strangled by state taxes on high-selling products.

The Glidewell Team