Georgia, Florida Get Gas Tax Holidays

Man carrying gas containers
An Estero Island resident carrying empty gas containers goes in search of gas days after Hurricane Ian went through Fort Myers Beach, Fla. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

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Drivers in Georgia and Florida are getting some price relief at the pump, as supply chain- and inflation-related fuel-tax holidays are being extended while both states grapple in their own ways with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) said he is extending an existing fuel-tax holiday as a hedge against the expected effects of relief efforts for neighboring states.

“While Georgia was largely spared the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian, Florida and South Carolina endured both significant destruction and flooding,” he said. “As we both pray for these neighbors in need and send resources and volunteers to aid in their recovery, we’re also bracing for the impact on already strained supply chains and prices at the gas pump that are already too high.”

Kemp on Oct. 3 issued an executive order extending an earlier suspension of the state’s motor fuel excise tax. This is the fourth time Kemp has extended the original suspension, which took effect March 18. Kemp also extended Georgia’s supply chain state of emergency, as it is expected that the Southeast region could experience further supply chain issues coupled with higher demand on fuel supplies. Both orders are effective through Nov. 11.

“As South Carolina and Florida contend with the damage caused by the storm, and as armies of linemen, emergency response crews and volunteers continue to move to and through the region, fuel supplies could undergo even greater demand in the days and weeks ahead,” Kemp’s announcement stated.

Most motor fuels eligible for the tax suspension include but are not limited to clear diesel, gasoline, aviation gasoline, liquid propane gas, gasohol, ethanol, liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas. Off-highway fuels, including jet fuel and dyed diesel, are ineligible as they are not generally subject to the excise tax.

“The coupling of high inflation with natural disasters occurring in our neighboring states is putting more pressure on Georgians at the pump,” Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said, adding that the extensions would “provide relief for all Georgians.”

Kemp’s office maintains that the temporary suspension has kept Georgia’s fuel prices among the lowest in the nation and resulted in residents saving $800 million so far at the pump.

Amid the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian, on Oct. 1 a fuel tax holiday took effect in Florida that runs through Oct. 21. Approved earlier this year, the break is projected to produce $200 million in savings for residents as part of a broader $1.24 billion tax relief effort this year focused on 10 areas, including fuel as well as diapers, school supplies, home improvement tools and impact-resistant windows and doors.

The Florida Motor Fuel Tax Relief Act of 2022, passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), lowers by 25.3 cents per gallon the motor fuel tax rate. It applies to all gasoline products, any product blended with gasoline, or any fuel placed in the storage supply tank of a gasoline-powered motor vehicle. However, there is no tax holiday for diesel fuel, aviation fuel or kerosene.

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