|Gas prices are surging and lines at stations are growing, but relief is on the way. CNN's Allan Chernoff reports (September 1)|
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Consumers may finally be getting a break at the pump as some states moved to suspend gasoline excise taxes.
Drivers in Georgia are already seeing lower pump prices after the state suspended taxes on gasoline last week. Other states may follow.
After peaking at $3.06 Monday when Hurricane Katrina caused shortages, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline dipped by a little more than a penny to $3.04 Tuesday, up from $1.85 a year ago, according to AAA.
But the motorist organization said its survey has been unable to keep up with real price increases, which have surged well above $3 a gallon in many areas and above $5 around Atlanta.
Late last week, Georgia legislators suspended the 7.5 cents-a-gallon gas tax and 4 percent sales tax on gasoline until Oct. 1.
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue said the tax break in Georgia could cut the cost of gas by about 15 cents a gallon; the one-month break is predicted to cost the state $75 million.
State lawmakers in other states, including Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, have either proposed or are considering similar measures.
All 50 states apply a flat-rate tax on each gallon of gas sold, with an average of 21.8 cents per gallon, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
That's in addition to state sales taxes, usually between 2 percent and 6 percent, and a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon.
New York leads the nation with the highest state gasoline taxes while Alaska has the lowest, the American Petroleum Institute said.
On top of New York's state tax of 8 cents per gallon, it charges 8 percent state sales tax and a Petroleum Business Tax of 15.2 cents per gallon. There is also a spill tax of 0.3 cents per gallon and a petroleum testing fee of 0.05 cent per gallon levied on gasoline.
Many economists believe that if prices at the pump continue trending upwards it would severely hurt the spending power of American consumers, especially low- and middle-income households.
|In need of a break?|
States ranked by total gas-tax burden, including state and federal levies.
Source: American Petroleum Institute.
|New York||62.9 cents|
|Rhode Island||49.4 cents|
|North Carolina||45.8 cents|
|West Virginia||45.4 cents|
|South Dakota||42.4 cents|
|North Dakota||41.4 cents|
|New Hampshire||39.0 cents|
|Washington D.C.||38.4 cents|
|New Mexico||36.4 cents|
|South Carolina||35.2 cents|
|New Jersey||32.9 cents|