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New York joins other states in suspending gas tax

Biden says the pandemic and tensions with Russia are causing rising prices

Gas prices and paying for gas concept
Photo (c) jabejon - Getty Images
Effective immediately, New York state has suspended its gas tax for the rest of the year – a move that will automatically roll back the price per gallon of gas by as much as 16 cents.

The move should come as a relief to residents of the state, who are paying an average of $4.93 a gallon. Those living in New York City have it even worse, paying $5.03 per gallon. That's nearly 30 cents per gallon higher than the national average.

Fortune reports that there are areas of New York where drivers could see even bigger discounts at the pump because some counties have their own gas taxes and are capping how much they collect per fill-up at between $2 and $3 per gallon.

Those who commute to New York from Connecticut are extra lucky because of Connecticut’s recent decision to suspend its 25-cent-per-gallon gas tax. Those who come in from New Jersey aren't so lucky because officials in that state have not made the move to suspend the gas tax.

A smattering of other states across the country – Florida, Maryland, and Georgia – have also suspended gas taxes, and there are proposals in Michigan, Alaska, Illinois, California, Minnesota, and Virginia to do the same. 

Will the federal government take the same approach?

If you’re thinking that the White House should just wave its magic wand and suspend gas prices across the country, don’t bet on it. When asked about the possibility, President Biden says the problem we’re facing with gas prices is tied to the pandemic and global tensions surrounding Russia.

“When COVID struck, demand for oil plummeted, so production slowed down worldwide. Because of the strength and the speed of our recovery, demand for oil shot back up much faster than the supply.  That’s why the cost of gas began to rise last year,” Biden remarked.   

“At the start of this year, gas was about $3.30 a gallon. Today, it’s … nearly a dollar more in less than three months. And the reason for that is because of Putin’s war. Our prices are rising because of Putin’s actions. There isn’t enough supply. And the bottom line is: If we want lower gas prices, we need to have more oil supply right now.”

Biden concluded by saying U.S. oil companies are also partly responsible for current struggles at the pump. 

"U.S. oil companies ... are recording their largest profits in years, [and] they have a choice," he said. "They can put those profits to productive use by producing more oil, restarting idle wells, or producing on the sites they already are leasing."

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