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Good Question: What will SC road repair plan cost you?

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COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - On July 1, South Carolina's gas tax went up for the first time in 30 years as part of a plan to help bankroll road and infrastructure improvements in the state.

The hotly-debated fuel tax increase is just one part of the the plan to help pay for those upgrades.

So some people are asking what does it all cost and how will it effect me?

That's a good question.

The gas tax will now go up two cents a year, bringing it to 28 cents a gallon by 2022. It's all part of the road-repair bill state lawmakers passed this spring to raise approximately $600 million a year by 2022 to fix South Carolina's struggling road system.

The public has heard a number of terms tied to the plan like infrastructure maintenenance fee, gas tax, and max tax.

It has caused some level of confusion.

"There's a lot of terms floating around," said SC Department of Revenue director Hartley Powell. "It sounds like a lot of different pieces. To be honest with you, the bottom line is, it's just an increase in sales tax."

That means if you're in the market for a new car that sales tax is higher. You'll now pay $500 in tax, up from the old amount of $300.

"Don't get confused. Taxpayers will pay just an increased amount of tax. No more than $500," said Powell. "It doesn't matter if we call it a fee or a tax."

It will also cost new state residents a one-time $250 fee to register a car in South Carolina.

There are a handful of other fees linked to the road improvement plan that take effect in January 2018:

- $120 electric-vehicle fee and $60 hybrid fee that South Carolina drivers will pay every two years.

- $16 more for vehicle registration fees

But, here's some good news about the plan to fix the state's roads. It also gives you some money back.

Start saving your gas and car maintenance receipts in January 2018. You can submit them with your 2018 income tax return for a refundable tax credit.

"Even though the tax is increasing as of July the 1st, the refundable tax credit will not be, you basically cannot claim that until your 2018 return has been filed," said Powell.

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