The states of Maryland and Georgia have halted the collection of their respective gas taxes in an effort to provide relief to Americans who have been left paying more at the pump as fuel prices soar across the nation.
Maryland was the first state to enact an immediate suspension of its state gas tax, Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, wrote on Twitter.
The emergency bipartisan legislation signed by Hogan will suspend the state’s gas tax for 30 days and will save residents 36.1 cents per gallon for gasoline and 36.85 cents per gallon for diesel fuel.
“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.”
Prior to signing the pause on the state’s gas tax, Hogan also announced a $4.6 billion tax relief package—the largest tax cut package in the state’s history—for working families, retirees, and small businesses.
Georgia followed suit with its own gas tax suspension on March 18, Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, announced on Twitter, where he also took aim at the Biden administration.
“In the coming days, the suspension of the 29.1 cent tax on motor fuel and 32.6 cent tax on diesel will make its way to the consumer,” said Kemp, who’s running for reelection in 2022. “Though we can’t fix everything Washington has broken, we’re doing our part to lessen the impact on Georgians’ wallets.”
Georgia’s gas tax suspension went into effect immediately and will remain in effect until May 31.
Several other states may also suspend their state gas taxes in the coming days as prices surge across the United States, having been further exacerbated by the Russia–Ukraine conflict after steadily rising since 2021.
The national average gas price was $4.24 per gallon as of March 22, according to data from automotive group AAA. That’s up from $3.53 in February, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and up from $2.88 in March 2021, data show.
President Joe Biden has blamed the ongoing Russia–Ukraine conflict as the reason for the rising gas prices, with the president telling reporters earlier this month, “Can’t do much right now … Russia is responsible.”
However, gas prices had already been rising across the United States and the rest of the world because of inflation, COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdowns, and subsequent supply chain issues.
Critics have also pointed to a number of Biden’s executive orders—including his suspension of the Keystone XL pipeline—which they say are partially to blame for the surge in prices.
Earlier in March, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said he was working with lawmakers to give money back to taxpayers to offset record-high gas prices in the state. AAA’s data show that California has the highest gas prices in the country.
While Newsom didn’t provide further details regarding the proposal and how it would work, The New York Times, citing the governor’s office, reported that the relief would take the form of a tax rebate.
The governor’s senior adviser, Dee Dee Myers, told reporters that the proposed rebate would likely be a “substantial amount of money” and would apply to vehicle owners living in California.