Many local motorists say the higher gas prices are driving them crazy.

"It makes you nuts to pay extra right after Christmas," said Bree Zinn, a 22-year-old York City resident.

"It's a crappy way to start the new year," said Nick Schmidt, a 24-year-old Spring Garden Township resident.

Two days into January, most local drivers were paying $3.49 to $3.59 a gallon at gas stations in York County, compared to $3.41 per gallon a week ago at nearly all stations.

Pennsylvania's new $2.3 billion transportation bill is to blame for the increases, analysts said.

Since Wednesday the plan has allowed the state to gradually lift the limit on the wholesale tax on gasoline, which has been capped at $1.25 per gallon since 1981. The plan has also eliminated the previous 12-cents-a-gallon retail gas tax and folded it into the wholesale tax.

On Jan. 1 it meant an extra dime, and by 2018 the tax bill paid by wholesalers will increase by 28.5 cents per gallon.

An analyst and local wholesaler agreed earlier this week that bill would be fully passed on to consumers.

At some local fuel stations, gas prices have increased 15 cents; others have tacked on a few pennies, and a few haven't changed their prices at all.

"The different prices are often a function of timing," said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com.

Different stations take (fuel) deliveries at different times. Some will raise their prices in anticipation of higher wholesale prices, while others wait, he said.

"This is all rarely transparent to the consumer," Laskoski said.

Most motorists will pay about $22 more in 2014 and $132 more by 2018, according to the governor's Transportation Funding Advisory Commission.

The commission based its calculations on a driver who gets 24 miles per gallon on one vehicle that is driven 12,000 miles per year.

"Motorists will pay roughly $2.50 more a week in five years, which is a reasonable approach," said Rich Kirkpatrick, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The bill paid by consumers will give the state an extra $351 million in 2014 and grow to $2.3 billion by 2018 for safer and improved bridges, roads and public transit.

Pennsylvania currently ranks 39th in the nation for the condition of its badly worn roads and bridges, according to the Reason Foundation's Annual Highway Report.

Pennsylvania has the largest number of structurally deficient bridges in the nation -- more than 4,000 -- and the state has 9,200 poor roadway miles, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

That's why Bob Heavey said he doesn't mind paying what he considers to be "just a few extra pennies."

"Have you ever driven into Maryland? It's a much smoother ride because they have good roads, and that's a lot better for your car," said the 52-year-old Stewartstown resident.

But 25-year-old Spry resident, Hannah Logan, said the higher prices have her shopping around.

"I noticed some places have cheaper gas prices, and I've been driving a little out of my way to go to them," she said.

To stay competitive, some gas stations may slowly increase prices by a penny or two at a time, Laskoski said.

Helping local nasty weather consumers is the snowy weather, he said.

"There's been some pretty nasty weather there. That means fewer people on the roads and less demand, which could lower or flatted prices," Laskoski said.

Because of winter weather and lower consumer demand, prices will climb slowly and incrementally in January and February," he said.

"In March, April and May you're more likely to see an aggressive price climb," Laskoski said.

--Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.