Amidst the continuing surge in prices at the pump for American consumers, two states have suspended their state gas taxes in an effort to generate some relief for their residents.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed legislation in their respective states Friday to suspend the state-level tax on gas. Government leaders in a number of other states, including Michigan, California, and New Hampshire have proposed or supported a potential gas tax holiday in recent days, but Georgia and Maryland were the first states to put those proposals into action. The Maryland law suspends the state’s gas tax for 30 days, while the Georgia law suspends the tax through May 31.
Hogan touted the legislation, which passed swiftly and unanimously in Maryland, at a press conference shortly before he signed the bill into law. Hogan thanked state legislative leaders for passing the bill and making Maryland the first state in the country to sign such a provision. “This bipartisan action will provide some relief from the pain at the pump and it is possible because of the prudent fiscal steps we have taken, which have resulted in a record budget surplus,” Hogan said. “This is, of course, not a cure-all, and market instability will continue to lead to fluctuations in prices, but we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to provide relief for Marylanders.”
Kemp announced the legislation in a video posted to Twitter Friday. “The average price of a gallon of gas has increased from $2.69 to $4.28 since March of 2021, a 59% increase, and researchers are now estimating that the average American household could spend an average of $2,000 more per year because of increased fuel cost and sky-high inflation,” Kemp said. “While some of the more recent price hikes are due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Georgians also know that Washington, D.C., policies and politics were driving inflation to record highs well before Putin’s despicable actions.”
Kemp faulted the Biden administration for shutting down domestic energy and driving inflation, while continually attempting to shift the blame away from them, then touted Georgia’s small government and pro-business environment. “Today, I signed HB 304, to temporarily halt collection of the state gas tax, and ease the burden consumers are feeling at the pump,” Kemp continued. “We can’t fix everything that Washington has broken, but we are doing our part to lessen the impact on your wallet.”
Gas prices surged to record highs earlier this month. Prices have slid downward slightly, but experts warn that the summer travel season and the switch to more expensive summer blend gasoline will likely cause prices to surge again.
While state leaders are weighing gas tax holidays, Congressional Democrats have floated numerous proposals, including suspending the federal gas tax and providing more stimulus money in an attempt to offer some kind of solution to gas prices, which are expected to be an issue in the 2022 midterms. The White House reportedly floated the idea of giving consumers gas cards, as Axios reported, but that idea was dismissed as clumsy and ineffective, and could possibly worsen inflation. Republicans, meanwhile, continue to press for the Biden administration to fix soaring prices more fundamentally, by revitalizing American energy production.