Georgia legislature votes to suspend state gas tax, heads to Kemp’s desk

The Senate voted 55-0 to suspend the gas tax through May 31.

Updated: March 17, 2022 - 10:28pm

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The Georgia Senate unanimously endorsed suspending the state’s motor fuel tax Thursday.

The Senate voted, 55-0, to approve House Bill 304 and suspend the gas tax through May 31. Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, is expected to sign the legislation.

Georgia collects 29.1 cents a gallon on gasoline and 32.6 cents a gallon on diesel fuel, state Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, said on the Senate floor.

“I would encourage every senator to pay very close attention to this bill,” Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, said before the Senate debated the measure. “I can assure you all 11 million of your constituents care about this one.”

Duncan said after the vote, “On behalf of 11 million Georgians, thank you.”

The state collected about $157 million in motor fuel taxes over the past month, and suspending collections potentially will save consumers across the state about $300 million to $400 million, Hufstetler said. The state will tap into its rainy day fund to make up for the loss.

Approval of the measure followed a debate that included a discussion on the energy policies of President Joe Biden’s administration. Debate broke down along party lines, with Republicans chiding the administration for actions they said reduced the country’s energy production, and Democrats dismissed those arguments.

According to AAA, Georgia’s average gas price of $4.241 a gallon for regular is slightly below the national average of $4.289 a gallon, as of Thursday. Georgia’s average is higher than the $3.375-a-gallon price a month ago and $2.736 a gallon a year ago.

Separately, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, has called on the federal government to suspend its collection of an 18.4 cents a gallon motor fuel tax until Jan. 1.

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