By Nathalie Voit
Maryland and Georgia temporarily halted their state gas taxes on March 18 in response to surging fuel prices, according to press releases from the governors of both states.
On Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) of Maryland signed ’emergency’ legislation to immediately suspend the state’s gas tax for thirty days, becoming the first state in the nation to do so. Georgia immediately followed suit, enacting its own legislation to suspend the state’s fuel tax through the end of May.
“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,” Gov. Hogan said in a statement. “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.”
The emergency relief bill in Maryland passed with full support from the House and Senate. The action will save residents 36.1 cents per gallon of gasoline, and 36.85 cents per gallon of diesel fuel, according to the release.
The legislation builds on the state’s $4.6 Billion Tax Relief Package, which promises long-term tax relief for working families, small businesses, and retirees.
The state of Georgia also implemented legislation on Friday to halt the state’s surcharge on motor fuel sales, according to a statement from Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA).
“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,” Gov. Kemp tweeted on March 18. “Though we can’t fix everything Washington has broken, we’re doing our part to lessen the impact on Georgians’ wallets.”
The welcome relief measures arrive as national gas prices have soared to their highest levels in U.S. history. On March 11, gas prices reached a new all-time high of $4.33 per gallon, according to data from transportation analytics firm AAA. Since then, prices have barely fallen, settling at a dismal $4.25 a gallon as of March 21.
There appears to be no sign of relief in sight as the world’s top crude oil benchmarks continue to trade above $100 a barrel. As of March 21 at 12 p.m. ET, North America’s crude oil benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), is up about 5.4% to trade at $110.39 a barrel.
The world’s crude oil contract, Brent Crude, is also up about 6.20% to $114.62 per barrel.