Ahead of a busy Memorial Day weekend, Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order Thursday that extends Georgia’s motor fuel tax break through July 14 in hopes of continuing to limit the impact of high prices.
He signed the order less than a week before a bipartisan law was set to expire Tuesday that suspended the 29.1 cents-a-gallon motor fuel tax.
The move, implemented in mid-March, saved drivers more than $300 million in taxes, a loss of revenue Kemp said would be plugged with surplus state funds. Kemp’s office expects overall tax collections to cover the lost fuel tax revenue that was earmarked for transportation spending without facing a shortfall.
Fresh off a landslide GOP primary victory, Kemp used the decision to assail President Joe Biden’s “out-of-touch agenda” and blame Democrats for rising inflation and energy prices.
It’s part of an effort to link Stacey Abrams, his Democratic opponent, to Biden’s flagging approval ratings.
Leading politicians from both parties have embraced calls to suspend gas taxes at both the state and federal level.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, also up for reelection, has made his proposal to suspend the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal gas tax until 2023 a staple of his campaign message.
Georgia gas prices hit new heights in early March, according to AAA, with an average statewide cost of $4.29 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel. The current statewide average is $4.14 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel.