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A potential NC gas tax suspension might not be as big as it sounds

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — President Joe Biden is asking Congress to suspend the state gas tax for three months. The tax is 18 cents per gallon for gasoline and 24 cents per gallon for diesel.

With gasoline prices averaging $4.59 a gallon in North Carolina on Wednesday, driver Pete Colclough said it won’t be enough to help him battle high prices.

“It’s just a drop in the ocean while Americans suffer,” Colclough said.

Tiffany Wright is the director of public affairs for AAA Carolinas. She said this will hopefully result in savings for drivers, but notes that a suspension doesn’t mean 18 cents per gallon is automatically deducted, as most of the price of gas is based on other factors.

“Any relief will be positive, I just can’t tell how many pennies we’re going to see dropped at the pump, it’s just too hard to tell,” Wright said. “In a perfect world you’d like to add it all up and say we’re going to save that, but when you add the price of oil, when you add the cost of distribution and refining, then the overhead at gas stations goes down, you just don’t know how low the prices will be.”

The state gas tax is about 3 percent of the current price per gallon on average in North Carolina.

Chantelle Scott said the federal tax suspension will not be enough to change her life.

“I’m in a homeless situation right now, so gas is the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I go to sleep because we sleep in the car,” Scott said. “So I have to make sure we have gas to keep the air and the heat in and I’m not fine.”

Biden is also asking states to suspend their gas tax, which is 38 cents a gallon in North Carolina.

“High gas prices are a burden for working families, and the President is rightly looking at ways to reduce costs at the pump,” Jordan Monaghan, press secretary for Gov. Roy Cooper’s office, said in a statement. “The gas tax pays for critical infrastructure funding and lawmakers have said they are not open to change at this time. With any tax cut, we would need to make sure that the savings are actually passed on to consumers at the pump and not just added to the oil and gas companies’ bottom line.”

In addition, Senator Phil Berger’s office released a statement.

“The state’s gas tax funds nearly half of the NC Department of Transportation’s budget,” Lauren Horsch, spokeswoman for Senator Phil Berger’s office, said in a statement. “A gas tax exemption would have dire consequences for the state’s ability to maintain roads and fund future projects. If President Biden is serious about easing the burden on working families, he should reassess his administration’s policies that have led to rising prices at the pump. Instead of these temporary gimmicks, we should focus on permanent, long-term tax breaks and curbing inflation.”

Additionally, Hank Merkle has recently restricted travel from South Carolina to Raleigh. CBS 17 asked if a state gas tax added to a federal gas tax would be enough to make them feel relieved.

“No, I don’t think it’s going to make a difference, I think it’s a temporary impact,” Merkle said.

According to GasBuddy, the average small car driver in the US would save $26 in three months, while a pickup truck driver would save $66.

Gas tax holiday or not, Wright said AAA expects July 4thth being on the streets a busy weekend, just like Memorial Day weekend, despite high gas prices.

https://www.cbs17.com/news/north-carolina-news/possible-nc-gas-tax-suspension-may-not-be-as-great-as-it-sounds/ A potential NC gas tax suspension might not be as big as it sounds

Dais Johnston

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