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Georgia drivers stunned at rising prices after gas tax reinstated

The gas tax, implemented by Gov. Brian Kemp last March, expired on Jan. 11, 2023.

ATLANTA — Georgia's state gas tax is back in place after being suspended for 10 months. Because of inflation and the rising cost of oil, the tax has gone up slightly. The tax is now 31 cents for regular unleaded gas and about 35 cents for diesel. 

Robert Jennings said he fills up one of three family cars at least once a week. Recently, he's noticed gas prices creeping up all over metro Atlanta.

"I'm retired, on a fixed income, and that does not help," Jennings said. "I know several colleagues who are retired and on a fixed income. Every little bit helps when you don't have to put it toward additional dollars for gasoline. Every penny counts in this economy."

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp lifted the state's gas tax suspension this week. The gas tax is used to pay for road projects and construction. However, drivers have paid 29 cents less at the pump since last March. 

When the gas tax went into effect, drivers would pay around $4.26 a gallon for regular gas– on average. Now, the national average is $3.27 according to AAA. Georgia's average is well below that– at $2.88 a gallon. In metro Atlanta, drivers can expect to pay around $2.86, up eight cents, from just 24 hours before. 

"We were finally able to catch our breath a little bit with gas going back down," Jabori Cooke said. "Now it's going back up, so it's really a letdown."

Since last year, the state gas tax has gone up to 31 cents. However, GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan said prices won't jump overnight. 

"Not every station is going to go up immediately the perfect 31 cents," De Haan said. "There's a lot in the backdrop that influences prices and many things can influence price at the same time. The wholesale price of gasoline has also been going up in recent days as the price of oil has gone up."

De Haan expects most gas prices would go up at least a quarter by the weekend. There are also a variety of ways to save at the pump. Jennings said it's too soon to see higher gas prices and would like to see the gas tax suspension continue. 

“Things I’d normally do, going out to eat – I don’t do that as often as I used to do that," Jennings said. "That needs to remain in place for a good while until this thing kind of pans out."


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