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Gas tax collections resume in Georgia after 10-month break

Posted at 1:51 PM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-10 13:51:07-05

State gasoline and diesel taxes make their return in Georgia on Wednesday.

The state will resume collecting a tax on gasoline of 29.1 cents per gallon and tax on diesel of 32.6 cents per gallon from wholesalers. That change is likely to trickle through rapidly to retailers who sell fuel to drivers.

In March, with broad bipartisan support, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law suspending the state’s gas tax. He signed seven separate extensions after that, with the state forgoing an estimated $1.7 billion million in revenue according to the governor's office.

Under state law, Kemp had the power to keep suspending taxes as long as state lawmakers ratify the action during their session that began Monday. Republican legislative leaders have supported the suspension, and plan to replenish state roadbuilding funds from Georgia's $6.6 billion surplus.

Kemp kept the suspension in place through his successful reelection campaign against Democrat Stacey Abrams, finally announcing in December that he would stop extending it. The gas tax break was part of Kemp's campaign to hand money to voters, saying he was helping them fight inflation.

On Tuesday, Georgia drivers were paying the lowest gas prices in the nation, according to motorist group AAA, at an average of $2.81 a gallon. The national average was $3.27 a gallon. The average diesel price in Georgia was $4.49 a gallon. Gasoline prices in Georgia are lower than a month or a year ago after peaking at $4.50 a gallon in June 2022.

Georgia is one of five states that had a broad gas tax holiday because of high pump prices. New York and Connecticut resumed fuel tax collections on Jan. 1. New York resumed its entire levy of 16 cents per gallon. Connecticut is phasing in its tax of 25 cents per gallon in 5-cent steps through May 1. Florida had a one-month gas tax holiday in October, while Maryland’s ended in April. California has a partial holiday on diesel taxes.

Pump prices also include a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel.

Nationally, AAA said Monday that an increase in gasoline prices that began in late December may be leveling out or even falling.

“As we head toward February, pump prices will likely dip, barring any jolt in the global oil market,” Andrew Gross, a AAA spokesperson, said in a statement. “But it is likely that the national average prices we saw heading in to Christmas may have been the lows for this winter.”