CINCINNNATI — A growing number of states are now suspending their gasoline taxes, in an effort to bring down soaring gas prices, currently averaging $4.60 nationwide.
Georgia currently has some of the lowest gas prices in the nation because it suspended the state's 29-cent a gallon tax in late March.
But Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana are not among the states doing this. And many Tri-State drivers are asking "why not"?
After all, opening the Strategic Petroleum Reserves barely had any impact on rising prices, now averaging $4.49 in the state of Ohio.
Drivers support suspending gas tax
Senior transport driver Mary Paxon, filling up in South Lebanon, told us she is now curtailing her unnecessary driving.
"I don't even stop at home during the day," she said. "I live in Middletown, but I stay here in Lebanon to save gas."
She said a suspension in the state's gas tax would be welcome.
"Anything to lower my gas bill would be great," she said.
GasBuddy.com analyst Patrick DeHaan said a half dozen states are now taking action to help drivers, by suspending their gasoline tax.
"Georgia is still in the midst of a gas tax holiday, and as a result, it has some of the cheapest gas prices in the country," DeHaan said.
"We've seen Connecticut, Maryland, also had gas tax holidays that lowered pump prices," he said.
Florida, meantime, is planning on suspending its 25-cent gas tax during the month of October this year, to help local drivers (as opposed to out-of-staters who will be driving the state's roads and filling the tax coffers all summer).
Gas tax can be significant
Next time you pull into a gas station, check the little sticker on the pump, and you may be amazed at just how much you are paying in state gasoline tax. It can be as much as $10 a fill-up.
- Ohio drivers pay 38 cents per gallon, the 7th highest tax in the nation.
- Kentucky drivers pay 25 cents
- Indiana drivers pay 24 cents.
This is on top of the Federal gas tax of 18 cents per gallon.
State lawmakers in all three states have proposed gasoline sales-tax holidays, but none have passed.
Ohio governor Mike DeWine has said several times the impact for consumers will be negligible, while the impact on the state's crumbling roads will be enormous.
He said Ohio depends on the gasoline tax to repair potholes and repave aging state roads and says it would be a "mistake" to roll back the tax.
“I think people would be very surprised if they found in six months that their roads are not being repaired,” DeWine said at a news conference earlier this year.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order this spring lowering the annual vehicle property tax, but has not endorsed lowering the state gasoline tax.
But drivers we spoke with in South Lebanon say it's time to do something.
"That would save some money," David Saunders said while filling up. "I am down with that. Anything to make my pocket stop hurting!"
If pump prices keep rising, however, look for more of a push to suspend the gas tax, at least temporarily, so you don't waste your money.
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