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More states mull gas-tax breaks
After Katrina, Georgia suspended its gas tax and others may follow. Where does your state rank?
September 7, 2005: 7:18 AM EDT
By Jessica Seid, CNN/Money staff writer
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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.  Top of page

In need of a break?
States ranked by total gas-tax burden, including state and federal levies.
Source: American Petroleum Institute.
StateTotal gas-tax
New York62.9 cents
Hawaii60.1 cents
California60.0 cents
Illinois54.6 cents
Connecticut53.9 cents
Michigan52.4 cents
Nevada51.9 cents
Wisconsin51.3 cents
Florida49.8 cents
Pennsylvania49.5 cents
Rhode Island49.4 cents
Washington49.4 cents
Indiana48.0 cents
Ohio46.4 cents
Montana46.2 cents
Maine45.8 cents
North Carolina45.8 cents
West Virginia45.4 cents
Nebraska44.6 cents
Idaho43.4 cents
Kansas43.4 cents
Utah42.9 cents
Oregon42.4 cents
South Dakota42.4 cents
Maryland41.9 cents
Massachusetts41.9 cents
StateTotal gas-tax
Delaware41.4 cents
North Dakota41.4 cents
Georgia41.2 cents
Colorado40.4 cents
Minnesota40.4 cents
Arkansas40.1 cents
Iowa40.1 cents
Tennessee39.8 cents
New Hampshire39.0 cents
Alabama38.7 cents
Washington D.C.38.4 cents
Louisiana38.4 cents
Texas38.4 cents
Vermont38.4 cents
Virginia37.7 cents
Arizona37.4 cents
Mississippi37.2 cents
Kentucky36.9 cents
New Mexico36.4 cents
Missouri36.0 cents
Oklahoma35.4 cents
South Carolina35.2 cents
New Jersey32.9 cents
Wyoming32.4 cents
Alaska26.4 cents
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