ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday signed legislation suspending the fuel tax in Georgia until the end of May.
Lawmakers from both houses of the General Assembly approved House Bill 304 without opposition, in an effort to give drivers a break from high gas prices.
Gasoline prices in Georgia include a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and a state tax of 29.1 cents per gallon. A number of cities and counties also charge taxes. Federal diesel fuel taxes are 24.4 cents per gallon, while the Georgia diesel tax is 32.6 cents per gallon. The measure would also reduce Georgian taxes on aviation gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas and other fuels, including compressed natural gas.
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It could be a while before consumers see relief, as gas stations are now selling fuel that was previously taxed at the wholesale level.
The suspension of collections could cost the state up to $400 million that would be used for road construction and other transportation projects. Republican Kemp plans to use some of the roughly $1.25 billion surplus from last fiscal year, beyond $1.1 billion in state income tax refunds, to cover any transport funding shortfalls.
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Kemp could extend the tax relief via an executive order that is expected to be ratified by lawmakers later. Kemp cut gasoline taxes in 2021 during a pipeline shutdown, and former Governor Nathan Deal has suspended gasoline taxes several times.
Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia has previously advocated for the federal government to suspend collection of its gasoline tax, responding to discontent over rising fuel prices.
Both Kemp and Warnock are up for re-election this year.
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The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States on Thursday was $4.27, according to AAA. It was $4.22 in Georgia. Prices have fallen over the past week as oil prices have fallen, having spiked following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.