Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has extended the suspension of his state’s gasoline tax for another month amid sustained high fuel costs.
Kemp cited “ongoing economic hardships caused by rampant inflation” Wednesday when he signed an executive order foregoing Georgia’s 31.2 cents-per-gallon tax on gas and 35 cents-per-gallon tax on diesel for another month through Nov. 29.
Approaching the holiday season, Kemps’s office said the move would provide relief to families in the state who’ve seen the price per gallon at the pump increase 33 cents in just a year.
It follows a similar move taken in October which was set to expire on Nov. 11.
“I’m proud this action has helped keep millions of dollars in hardworking Georgians’ pockets and look forward to continuing to see that impact with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching,” Kemp said in a statement.
Georgia’s gas tax was suspended last March by state lawmakers as fuel costs rose and then extended by the governor through December before being reinstated, costing the state an estimated $1.7 billion in revenues, according to official figures.
It has been suspended again since September.
Revenue from the gas tax is used to fund infrastructure work on roads and other transportation infrastructure. State officials said its loss is manageable thanks to larger reserves and recent surpluses.
“Thanks to the strategic and conservative budgeting of Governor Kemp and the General Assembly, the State of Georgia can confidently suspend collection of the state motor fuel tax to help lessen the burden of historically high gas prices,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
Georgia reported a $6 billion surplus for fiscal year 2023, bringing the total balance of the state’s reserves to nearly $18.5 billion. According to the state’s Department of Revenue October revenue report released on Wednesday, net tax collections totaled $2.6 billion for the month, a decrease of $84.4 million or 3.1% compared to October 2022.
Officials said $70.5 million of October’s tax revenue changes were the result of tax collected on motor fuel before its suspension in September.
Minus gas tax revenues, all other October net tax collections decreased by 5.7% or $154.9 million compared to October 2022, they said.
“On a fiscal year-to-date basis, total revenue collections were up 4.2% or $428.6 million from the same four-month period last year, driven mostly by the collection of the state motor fuel tax that was suspended throughout the same time period in 2022,” DOR said. “Net of motor fuel tax changes, revenues for the four months ended October 31 were down 2 percent from this time a year ago.”
State revenues are expected to dip by around 13% in fiscal 2024, according to official estimates.
Gas prices hit historic highs this year, but have recently been in slow decline.
AAA said on Nov. 9 that the national average for a gallon of gas fell four cents in a week to $3.40, following a slow but steady decline that may quicken after recent drops in the price of oil.
“We still need to cast a wary eye on global events, which may roil the oil market and spike prices,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “But domestic gas prices are amid their usual seasonal swoon. Pump prices have fallen or remained flat every day since September 19.”
AAA said today’s national average of $3.40 for a gallon of gas is 30 cents less than a month ago and 40 cents less than a year ago.