Georgia House backs suspension of gas tax through end of May



The Georgia House agreed Friday to suspend state fuel taxes as metro Atlanta gas prices reach record highs.

The House voted 150-0 for the plan to suspend the 29.1 cents-a-gallon motor fuel tax through May 31. Based on previous years’ collections, the move would save drivers about $400 million in taxes.

The measure now heads to the Georgia Senate.

While the suspension would go into effect on the signature of Gov. Brian Kemp, it wouldn’t be felt immediately throughout the state since stores would be selling gas they received prior to the suspension and paid taxes on. Lawmakers said it would take some time for the untaxed gas to make its way into the pipeline.

Politicians in both parties have staked their positions to suspend gas taxes at both the state and federal level as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sends gas prices to new heights. President Joe Biden on Tuesday banned imports of Russian oil, gas and coal to punish dictator Vladimir Putin’s “vicious war of choice,” a decision that roiled the energy market.

The average price of a gallon of regular fuel in metro Atlanta reached $4.33 on Friday, higher than the crest reached in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to GasBuddy, a fuel-tracking service.

Motor fuel funding pays for road and bridge projects. The governor’s office said state surplus funds would be used to make up for the lost gas tax money. The state ran a $3.7 billion surplus in fiscal 2021, in part because the economy was aided by billions of dollars worth of federal COVID-19 relief funding.