Georgia May Suspend Gas Tax To Fight Price Surge—And These States Could Be Next

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Topline

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) said Tuesday he’s working with state lawmakers to “quickly move legislation” to suspend the state’s gas tax, as officials around the country look for ways to offset skyrocketing fuel prices.

Key Facts

Kemp tweeted Tuesday he’s “confident” state government will soon temporarily drop its 29.1 cents per gallon gas tax and 32.6 cents per gallon diesel tax.

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Georgia is $4.06 per gallon, according to AAA, which is below the nationwide average of $4.17 but up around 10 cents from the price on Monday.

State lawmakers in New York are also pushing to pause the state’s collection of a 10 cents per gallon gas tax, with Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) expressing skepticism of the proposal at an event Monday, but not ruling it out.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is facing calls, mainly from Republicans, to suspend the state’s 24 cents per gallon gas tax, and said last week if the state were to look at easing residents’ economic hardship in the short term, “that would probably be the place we would go.”

A Republican state lawmaker in Maine proposed a bill Monday to suspend the state’s 30 cents per gallon gas tax for a year, but top lawmakers and Gov. Janet Mills (D) haven’t taken a position on the issue yet.

What To Watch For

A group of six Democratic governors sent a letter to Congressional leadership Tuesday calling on Congress to drop the federal 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax through the end of the year. White House officials suggested last month the president might be open to the idea of a gas tax holiday.

Key Background

Gas prices have risen at the fastest pace in history in recent days, surging an average of 56 cents a gallon nationally, according to AAA. The $4.17 per gallon national average is an all-time record, surpassing the previous high of $4.11 reported in July 2008. Fuel prices had been skyrocketing for more than a year across the U.S., with increases in energy prices leading the way in a historic period of inflation, but the spike reached uncharted territory after Russia invaded Ukraine late last month. Prices are likely to continue surging across the U.S. after President Joe Biden announced a ban Tuesday on all Russian oil imports to the United States.

Crucial Quote

“With this action, it’s going to go up further,” Biden said Tuesday after announcing the Russian oil ban. “I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike.”

Tangent

Georgia ended fiscal year 2021 with a $3.7 billion budget surplus. Kemp has endorsed a plan to give some of the money directly back to residents through $250 refunds for individuals filing taxes and $500 for married couples filing jointly.

Further Reading

U.S. Gas Prices Near All-Time High As Ukraine War Threatens Energy Market (Forbes)

Democrats Propose Federal Gas Tax Holiday To Combat Rising Prices—Here’s What You Need To Know (Forbes)

Here’s How Biden’s Historic Ban On Russian Oil Will Hit The Economy (Forbes)

Gas Prices Surge To Record High Ahead Of Russian Oil Ban—Americans Will ‘Feel The Pain’ For A While (Forbes)

Governors In These States Want To Give Residents Cash Thanks To Unexpected Budget Surpluses (Forbes)