When will gas prices go back down? Illinois drivers flock to Wisconsin, Indiana for cheaper fill-ups

Illinois gas prices averaging $4.55 a gallon

John Garcia Image
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Search for cheap gas sends Chicago area drivers to WI, IN
Drivers from the Chicago area are searching for cheaper gas -- and finding it over the state line in Wisconsin and Indiana.

PLEASANT PRAIRIE, Wis. (WLS) -- At the Lake Forest Oasis on I-94, gas is selling for $4.63 a gallon. They have some customers, but down the road a few miles across the Wisconsin border, the pumps are filled with vehicles. The price in Pleasant Prairie Tuesday was $3.99 a gallon.

"Now that the price is super high, I drive 10 minutes to Wisconsin," Illinois resident Fran Meza said. "It's $.50 cheaper. It makes a difference."

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The pumps are filled with many vehicles bearing Illinois license plates. Many of the customers come from 10 to 15 miles away because they say it's worth it for what they save buying gas here.

"I can save about 12 bucks on gas," Illinois resident Carl Powell said. "It's only a 20 minute drive, well worth the trip."

Right now in Wisconsin, the average price in the state is $4.02 a gallon. The average in Illinois is at $4.56 a gallon.

Some drivers have to be in Wisconsin for work anyway.

"There's a nice bonus for being up here," Illinoisan Greg Wernisch said. "The nice bonus is $.50-$.60 a gallon saving on gasoline."

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Driving over the state border for cheaper gas is not new, but with the price of gas rising quickly over the last couple of weeks, the difference in price from Illinois to Wisconsin is bigger than ever.

It's a similar situation in Indiana. While more expensive than Wisconsin, gas is still less there than in Illinois.

According to AAA, gas in Wisconsin averages about $4.01. Indiana is at about $4.22, and the Illinois average is a whopping $4.55.

"I believe that's the reason why it's cheaper here is because of the taxes difference," gas station manager Vasilije Sekularac said.

According to the American Petroleum Institute, state gasoline taxes in Illinois are the third highest in the country. The taxes are about $.20 a gallon higher than here in Wisconsin, and that doesn't even include city and county taxes.