Maryland, Georgia Suspend Gas Tax As Russian Oil Ban Strains Costs
- Maryland and Georgia temporarily suspended state gas taxes amid soaring fuel costs.
- Capitol Hill is struggling to pass legislation that includes a federal gas tax holiday.
- Average gas prices hit a record-high of $4.33 per gallon earlier this month after the US banned imports of Russian oil.
Georgia and Maryland residents will receive slight relief at the pump this month, as both states announced a temporary gas tax holiday on Friday.
The legislation comes as US gas prices have surged in recent weeks after the Biden administration banned imports of Russian oil in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Prices reached a record-high of $4.33 per gallon on March 11 and while the current average has dropped slightly, to $4.26 as of Sunday, the rate is still about 75 cents higher per gallon than the month prior.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and subsequent sanctions crude oil prices — which had already been on the rise even before the attacks began — have soared to over $100 a barrel.
Capitol Hill is struggling to pass legislation including a federal gas tax holiday, which would knock off 18.4 cents per gallon. In an unexpected ideological switch, Democrats are pushing for the tax cut while GOP representatives have rejected it as “non-solution” re-election politics, NBC reported.
Other federal initiatives, such as sending out gas cards to Americans, were recently rejected by House Democrats due to expense and inflation concerns, sources told Axios.
Meanwhile, at least 17 states — including California and New York — are exploring local legislation to reduce gas costs, The National Conference of State Legislatures told NBC News. State gas taxes have ranged from $0.08 per gallon in Alaska to $0.58 per gallon in Pennsylvania.
Maryland’s bipartisan bill, signed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday, eliminates the state’s 36.1 cents per gallon gasoline tax for the next month. Georgia’s law will suspend the 29.1 cent tax on motor fuel and 32.6 cent tax on diesel up until the end of May.
“As we continue to stand in solidarity against Russian aggression in Ukraine and as Marylanders face the impact of surging inflation with the average price of gas rapidly rising, this bipartisan action will provide some relief from the pain at the pump,” Hogan said at the bill signing ceremony.
Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson added that while gas prices and inflation remain “uncertain and unpredictable in part because of the unprovoked aggression in Ukraine,” the state is doing what it can to reduce costs.
“What we can show as leaders here in the state of Maryland is that we can respond quickly and responsibly,” he said.