Kemp waives Georgia gas tax for now due to pipeline outage
CHAMBLEE, Ga. (AP) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said he is suspending state taxes on motor fuels through Saturday to offset increasing prices after a computer hack led a key pipeline that carries fuel to much of Georgia to shut down.
The Republican said Tuesday that he wanted to provide price relief from increasing fuel prices because of the Colonial Pipeline outage.
“It will probably help level the price at the pump off for a little while,” Kemp told reporters at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Chamblee.
Georgia collects a gasoline tax of 28.7 cents a gallon and a diesel tax of 32.2 cents a gallon. The tax is collected by distributors and paid to the state.
However, Kemp is urging people not to hoard gasoline, saying he expected quick relief from the supply crunch.
“You don’t need to go out and fill up every 5-gallon can you’ve got,” Kemp said. “Get what you need, let everybody else get what they need to get to work, you know, do the things you need to do. But we are seeing some shortages around the state, so we just don’t want to have a run on the pumps.”
Scattered gas stations in metro Atlanta and north Georgia ran out of fuel Monday and Tuesday, while others including a Savannah-area chain started limiting purchases. The pipeline also carries jet fuel, and planes at the busy suburban airport where Kemp spoke Tuesday were being fueled and taking off.
Kemp’s order waives weight limits on tanker trucks that carry fuel to stations, saying he wanted to maximize deliveries by truck. Federal officials Monday waived driving time limits with the same goal.
Later Tuesday, the governor and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said they were seeking permission from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for stations to keep selling winter-blend gasoline instead of the more expensive summer-blend that Atlanta-area stations sell to combat smog.
The governor also warned against price gouging.
“While not all price increases qualify as gouging, we do want to make clear that anyone taking advantage of this disruption, and making a quick buck off the backs of Georgians will not be tolerated,” Kemp said.
Gas prices in Georgia were averaging $2.87 a gallon Tuesday, according to AAA. That’s an 11-cent jump since Monday and a 16-cent jump since last week.
Anthony Haynes, a Savannah maintenance worker, told the Savannah Morning News on Monday that higher prices will hurt him financially.
“We’ll try to limit our driving if it’s going up any more than that,” Haynes said, “but we kind of have no choice.”
Privately held Colonial Pipeline, which is based in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, delivers about 45% of the fuel used along the Eastern Seaboard. The pipeline supplies not only Atlanta and north Georgia, but has a spur that runs south through Macon and Albany to Bainbridge.
The pipeline shut down Friday after a ransomware attack by gang of criminal hackers that calls itself DarkSide.
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