Gas prices in South Carolina currently average $3.22 per gallon of regular unleaded – up from $3.14 when we last checked.

The good news? According to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge report, that’s the cheapest gas available anywhere in the United States. The bad news? South Carolinians are dirt poor – meaning that even though gas is cheap here, our citizens are still paying through the nose for it.

In fact as we’ve pointed out on numerous previous occasions, South Carolinians pay more of their income on fuel than residents of any other state except Mississippi.

Palmetto State “Republicans” looking to raise the gas tax never mention that bit of information in their talking points …  just like the state’s liberal mainstream media never mentions South Carolina’s low incomes when trumpeting that the Palmetto State has the “lowest tax burden in America.”

Anyway … these “Republicans” just borrowed half a billion dollars for the state’s bloated highway system, which continues to throw its resources behind totally unnecessary transportation projects.

South Carolina currently administers the nation’s fourth-largest highway system – a whopping 41,613 miles of state-maintained roadways. That’s preposterous for a state that ranks No. 40 nationally in terms of size (and No. 24 in terms of population), but it’s what happens when politics dictates the process.

And when “reforms in name only” are all our so-called leaders can muster …

As for funding, according to data compiled by the Reason Foundation, South Carolina ranked No. 2 in the nation in total taxpayer disbursements per mile of state-maintained roadway in 2007. In 2008 and 2009 – the latest years for which data is available – the Palmetto State led the nation in funding per mile. Meanwhile, from 2007-09 South Carolina led the nation in taxpayer disbursements per mile of bridges.

Amazing, isn’t it?

“Republicans” led by S.C. Senators Hugh Leatherman (RINO-Florence) and Ray Cleary (RINO-Horry) are proposing a whopping 125 percent increase in the state’s gasoline tax, hoping to raise it from 16 to 36 cents over a ten year period beginning in 2015.

Thankfully moderate Democratic S.C. Rep. Bakari Sellers – who is running for lieutenant governor – has vowed to block this increase.

We oppose the gas tax hike – and support Sellers in his efforts to achieve modest gas tax relief.