Motor Fuel Tax

Motor Fuel Tax is a tax on motor fuels purchased or used in Rhode Island.

Frequently Asked Questions

Every distributor shall, before continuing or commencing to transact the business of a distributor, apply for registration as a distributor at the office of the tax administrator.  Each registered distributor shall file and pay on or before the 20th day of each month a return showing the amount of fuels purchased, sold or used by the distributor both within and outside the state for the previous month. 

Beginning July 1, 2015 and every other year thereafter, the gasoline tax shall be adjusted by the percentage of increase in the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) as published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics determined as of September 30 of the prior calendar year; said adjustment shall be rounded to the nearest one cent ($.01) increment.

The current motor fuel tax rate as of 10/04/2021 is $.34 per gallon.

Every distributor must file an Application for Distributor Registration or Export Permit Certificate (Form MFT-APP) as well as a Motor Fuel Bond Form (MFT-EB). 

Rhode Island is a distributor state which means the tax is paid by the distributor on a monthly return. 

Please use the Motor Fuel Tax Return (MFT-1) on the Sales & Excise Forms page.

Please note: there is only one filing frequency for the Motor Fuel Tax Return (MFT-1) – monthly.

The due date for the monthly tax return is the 20th day of the month immediately following the month for which the return is being filed.

You may file and pay the Motor Fuel tax online (preferred) on our Tax Portal: https://taxportal.ri.gov

You may also mail your completed form and payment to:
     RI Division of Taxation
     Excise Tax section
     One Capitol Hill
     Providence, RI 02908-5802

Taxable fuels include gasoline, diesel, liquid propane, and other volatile and inflammable liquids used or suitable for use for operating or propelling motor vehicles.  Exempt fuels include lubricating oils, diesel fuel for the propulsion of marine craft, fuels used for the propulsion of airplanes, oils used for heating purposes and alternative fuels used by fleets consisting of 10 or more alternative fueled vehicles.

Under certain conditions, refunds of Rhode Island Motor Fuel Tax already paid may be made to licensed commercial fishermen, persons, firms or corporations who purchase fuel for pumping, intaking or discharging sea or bay waters for maintaining fish, shellfish or lobsters; farmers, lumbermen, manufacturers who use diesel for the manufacture of power; water well drillers; persons  or companies who use fuel for marine purposes (excluding pleasure craft); and municipalities and sewer commissions or agencies which use fuel in the operation of sewer treatment plants.  All claims for refund must be filed within 240 days from the date of purchase.

Miscellaneous Links

Resources

Statutes:

R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-36-7 (establishes a tax on motor fuels purchased or used in Rhode Island)

R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-36-2 (requires all motor fuel distributors to receive to register with the RI Division of Taxation)

R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-36-3 (requires a bond based on the average estimate of annual taxes)

Regulation: RI Regulation 280-RICR-20-50-1

Contact Us

Excise Tax Section
Email:  Tax.Excise@tax.ri.gov
Phone:  401.574.8955
Fax:  401.574.8914