Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday extended the state’s suspension of motor fuels tax collection until July 14. The suspension had been set to expire next Tuesday.
Kemp’s executive order means that truckers will not have to pay the state’s 32.6-cents-a-gallon levy on diesel. Kemp’s action also applies to Georgia’s 29.1-cents-a-gallon tax on gasoline.
At the same time, the Republican governor extended until July 14 an order declaring a supply chain state of emergency in Georgia. The order bans price gouging on goods and services such as diesel fuel and gasoline, and allows trucks with a gross vehicle weight — tractor, trailer and freight — of up to 95,000 pounds and with a maximum width of 10 feet to operate on Georgia’s state and local roads. The state’s normal gross vehicle weight limit is 80,000 pounds, and the maximum width of a five-axle truck is 8 feet, 5 inches.
The edict, which was set to expire June 14, doesn’t apply to trucks operating on the parts of the interstate highway system that run through Georgia.
Truckers operating in interstate commerce pay their fuel tax each quarter under the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), a reciprocity compact between the lower 48 U.S. states and 10 Canadian provinces. IFTA determines fuel tax payments and refunds based on the jurisdictions where the product was consumed and purchased.
In an article that appeared in mid-April in LandLine, the publication of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), IFTA Executive Director Carmen Martorana said that drivers wouldn’t have to pay state fuel tax if they are buying and burning the fuel in a state that is not collecting the tax.
Martorana told the publication that drivers who buy fuel in a state with a fuel tax exemption and drive in a state without an exemption would have to pay that tax out of pocket. She added that drivers who pay taxes on fuel in one state but then drive in a state that has a tax holiday can get reimbursed.
With gasoline and diesel prices at or near all-time highs, multiple states have either suspended their gas taxes or will issue rebates in lieu of suspending the levies. States that have announced suspensions or rebates are in good fiscal condition in part because they dramatically reduced their outlays during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of this past Monday, average nationwide on-highway diesel prices stood at $5.57 a gallon, down 4 cents a gallon from a week ago but $2.32 a gallon higher than at this time in 2021, according to weekly data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). In the New England and mid-Atlantic regions where diesel has been in short supply due to various factors, prices remain well above $6.30 a gallon.