Kemp suspends Georgia gas taxes through mid-September

A man fills his mototcycle fuel tank, Thursday, June 23, 2022, in Kennesaw, Ga. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Georgia’s governor is extending the suspension of the state’s motor fuel tax through Sept. 12.

Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday signed an executive order extending the suspension for a third time. The order also suspends the state sales tax on train locomotive fuel.

Kemp previously signed a law in March that passed with broad bipartisan support suspending the state’s gas tax through May 31. Kemp signed earlier extensions in May and July.

Under state law, Kemp can suspend taxes by executive order as long as state lawmakers ratify the action the next time they meet. Kemp abated gas taxes in 2021 during a pipeline shutdown, and former Gov. Nathan Deal suspended gas taxes multiple times.

Georgia’s gasoline price normally includes a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and a state tax of 29.1 cents per gallon. A number of counties and the city of Atlanta also charge taxes. Federal taxes on diesel fuel are 24.4 cents per gallon, while Georgia’s tax on diesel is 32.6 cents per gallon.

Kemp’s extension comes as gas prices are falling sharply from summer highs. According to motorist group AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular gas in Georgia was $3.72. That’s down 60 cents in a month. While the national average is now $4.16, Georgia is one of 19 states, mostly in the South and Midwest, with average gas prices below $4 a gallon.

Gas prices in Georgia remain 75 cents a gallon above where they were a year ago.

A gallon of diesel fuel is averaging $4.97 a gallon, down 47 cents in the last month.

Kemp blamed President Joe Biden for inflation and high gas prices as he runs for reelection and seeks to tie his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, to the unpopular president.

“We can’t fix everything Washington has broken, but we’re doing our part to combat the economic headwinds caused by the President’s failed policies,” Kemp said in a statement.

Abrams on Wednesday repeated her call for Kemp to suspend the gas tax through the end of the year. Democrats believe Kemp is milking the repeated suspensions for news coverage.

“Today, Brian Kemp once again refused to provide Georgians with the stability they deserve, and instead is prioritizing politics over committing to a full suspension of the gas tax through the end of the year as I have,” Abrams said in a statement.

The price of oil has risen dramatically around the world since Russian President Vladimir Putin began amassing troops on Ukraine’s border and then invaded the eastern European country. Biden earlier called for a three-month suspension of federal gasoline and diesel taxes.

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