Gas prices are about to go up in Utah, not because of conflict in the Middle East but because of the new tax reform law which raises taxes on each gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel.

On Tuesday, Utah Senate President Stuart Adams (R – Layton) told the Utah Taxpayers Association that the fuel tax increase is a positive change.

“We actually instituted a 10 cent gas tax, 6 cents on diesel,” he told the crowd at a banquet held at the Grand America Hotel.

“That actually is really good tax policy but also helps with our structural imbalance.”

Former state representative Fred Cox points out those figures are based on today’s prices and still too high.

“Right now we’re at 31.1 percent so it’s estimated at about 11 cents,” Cox told ABC4 News Wednesday.

“So that’s a 35 percent increase for our state fuel tax if this were to take effect.”

And drivers would feel the sting even more if there were to be a war in the Middle East that disrupted oil supplies.

“If gas prices were all of the sudden four dollars or five dollars a gallon…that’s going to be more,” Cox said.

Cox points out that high diesel taxes have a domino effect on the price of just about everything that has to be trucked to stores.

Drivers fueling up Wednesday at a Salt Lake City Maverik worry about a possible double whammy of higher prices combined with the new tax.

“It’s a percentage. It’s not a flat amount,” Mike Sessions said while filling up his pickup truck.

“So when you have something like what’s happening in the Mid East.

That could affect it a lot more right because the prices can fluctuate a lot more because of that so that concerns me.”

Cox is currently leading a signature drive to get a referendum on tax reform on the 2020 ballot.

For more information on the tax referendum effort, go to utah2019tax.

More From KDXU 890 & 92.5