Kemp suspends gasoline tax collections again

Published 10:01 am Wednesday, September 13, 2023

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ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp is suspending the state sales tax on gasoline and other motor fuels for the second time in a year and a half, citing increasing prices at the pump.

The latest suspension will take effect at 12 a.m. Wednesday and run until 11:59 p.m. Oct. 12.

Kemp blamed the Biden administration for the latest rise in gasoline prices.

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“From runaway federal spending to policies that hamstring domestic energy production, all Bidenomics has done is take more money out of the pockets of the middle class,” the governor said Tuesday. “While high prices continue to hit family budgets, hardworking Georgians deserve real relief, and that’s why I signed an executive order today to deliver it directly to them at the pump.”

Kemp first suspended the motor fuels tax in March of last year, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russia drove gasoline prices in Georgia to a record high of more than $4 a gallon. He renewed the suspension each month until lifting it last January. During those months, Georgians saved about $1.7 billion.

Gasoline prices have crept up again over the summer. The average cost of a gallon of regular gas in Georgia currently is $3.57 per gallon, up from $3.24 a year ago, according to AAA.

Suspension of the gas tax will save Georgians 31.2 cents per gallon and 35 cents per gallon of diesel fuel.

Hunter Loggins, Georgia state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, praised the move to suspend the tax.

“The cost of fuel affects the cost of practically everything,” he said. “The average gas price in Georgia may be well below the record $4.50 a gallon set in the summer of 2022, but it’s still a lot higher than we were paying a year ago, and that leads to higher prices across the board.”

The rise in prices at the pump is being attributed to a combination of factors, including rising summer demand, a slowdown at oil refineries due to extreme summer heat, and recent production cuts by member nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Kemp said the state can afford to do without the gasoline tax revenue because of the huge budget surplus he has built up during the last three years. The state completed fiscal 2023 at the end of June with a surplus estimated at nearly $4.8 billion.