Georgia’s state taxes at fuel pumps to resume as Brian Kemp’s tax break ends, at least for now

Drivers in Georgia will likely pay higher prices for gasoline and diesel fuel as state motor fuel taxes return Thursday

By means ofJEFF AMY Associated Press

November 28, 2023, 1:56 PM

ATLANTA– Drivers in Georgia will likely pay higher prices for gasoline and diesel fuel as state motor fuel taxes return Thursday.

Governor Brian Kemp’s rollback of state taxes of 31.2 cents per gallon of gasoline and 35 cents per gallon of diesel ends Wednesday at 11:59 p.m.

Republican Kemp began forgiving taxes in September when he issued a new legal declaration saying high prices were an emergency. Georgia’s governor can suspend tax collection during an emergency, as long as state lawmakers approve the action the next time they meet. But because the General Assembly begins a special session Wednesday to discuss legislative and congressional redistricting, Kemp was unable to extend the tax forgiveness at the time.

Kemp asked lawmakers to approve his action during the special session. He could also ask lawmakers to pass a law to extend the tax break. But Kemp spokesman Garrison Douglas said Tuesday that the governor has no plans to ask lawmakers to take action. Douglas said it’s possible Kemp could issue another emergency declaration once the special session ends.

Douglas said Kemp was speaking with legislative leaders “to decide the next steps after this session and before the next session.” That next regular session begins on January 8. He said one issue will be whether gas prices continue to fall, as they have done nationwide since Kemp revived the fuel tax in September.

The rollback helped Kemp during his 2022 reelection bid, when he signed a bill suspending the gas tax with broad bipartisan support. Kemp subsequently signed seven separate extensions, with the state losing an estimated $1.7 billion in revenue between March 2022 and January 2023.

Kemp says tax relief for Georgians helps them deal with the inflation he blames on Democratic President Joe Biden, though most economists say giving more money to consumers also typically increases inflation.

The governor has rolled back fuel taxes worth about $180 million a month, while his administration stressed that overall tax collections are declining, a sign that Georgia’s economy may be slowing.

Motorists in Georgia paid an average of $2.79 for a gallon of unleaded gasoline on Tuesday, according to auto group AAA. That was the third-lowest price among states behind Texas and Mississippi, and down 78 cents since Kemp suspended taxes. The national average of $3.25 has fallen 59 cents per gallon over the same time.

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