Governor suspends gas taxes again through mid-December

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has extended the suspension of the state’s motor fuel tax through Dec. 11, as its total cost in foregone state tax revenue nears an estimated $1 billion.

Kemp on Friday signed an executive order extending the suspension for a sixth time. Kemp, a Republican, is seeking another term against Democrat Stacey Abrams in Tuesday’s election.

According to motorist group AAA, Georgia currently has the lowest average price for a gallon of regular gas among the 50 states, at $3.13 on Friday. That’s down about 3 cents in a month. The national average is $3.79.

In March, with broad bipartisan support, Kemp signed a law suspending the state’s gas tax through May 31. Since then, he has now signed six separate extensions. Under state law, Kemp can keep suspending taxes as long as state lawmakers ratify the action the next time they meet.

The order also suspends the state sales tax on train locomotive fuel.

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Georgia’s gasoline price normally includes a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and a state tax of 29.1 cents per gallon. Federal taxes on diesel fuel are 24.4 cents per gallon, while Georgia’s tax on diesel is 32.6 cents per gallon.

Gas prices in Georgia are 12 cents a gallon below where they were a year ago.

A gallon of diesel fuel is averaging $4.92 a gallon, up 35 cents in the last month.

The suspension costs the state more than $150 million a month in tax revenue, with Kemp estimating the amount of foregone tax revenue at $950 million so far. Kemp plans to backfill the money for road building using some of the $6.6 billion in state surplus.

Kemp, who has blamed President Joe Biden for inflation and high gas prices, seeks to tie Abrams to the unpopular president. Abrams called for Kemp to commit to suspending the gas tax through the end of the year.

The price of oil rose sharply after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

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