$2 for gas! Yeah, but what about the gas taxes?

Thanks Erick for my new contributor status! 

This is a cross post from my blog at www.steve-davis.org/blog 

There are some gas stations in Henry County with $2 gas and below!  I actually spoke to Commissioner Graham with the Department of Revenue on Monday and discussed our motor fuel taxes.  

We pay gas taxes based on a weighted average sales price of gas minus the states portion of gas taxes.  Many Georgians believe we have one of the lowest motor fuel taxes in the country; however the less published portion is that most states do not charge sales tax on gas.  Georgia does and in addition to this the local municipalities get their standard portion of upto 3% with any added SPLOST.  The states 4% of the tax is divided into two parts with 3% being a second motor fuel tax and 1% going to the General Fund of the state budget(for the bureaucrats to spend as they please).

This tax is applied at the distributor level and is prepaid before the sale to the end users.  The calculated weighted average sales price is adjusted every Jan 1 and July 1.  Currently the rate that is being used is $2.55 per gallon and remember this is before the states portion of motor fuel tax(17.7 cents) is added to the price and all local sales tax. 

The review of the calculated weighted average sales is based from an indexing service and is done every Monday, and this service is a 4 week average!  This weeks average is coming in at $2.20 but remember this after the removal of the state and local portion which would mean the average price of gas would be $2.45!  The gas prices are dropping so fast that the 4 week average is a little behind the actual current average prices!  You can view the daily average at AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report here.  This page actually shows the current level at $2.175 which includes all of the taxes! 

Over the summer I have been doing research on this type of taxation that is completely misunderstood and somewhat unknown by the public.  We need to consider consolidating the typical “motor fuel excise tax

22 comments

  1. Reductions in gas taxes while undoubtedly a good move for a politician, strike me as a gimick. Will probably be great for getting you votes, but it’s not going to make much difference in anyones life.

    Personally I wish a politician had the balls to put a 50 cent per gallon tax on gas, with all of the revenues earmarked for researching a cleaner fuel to replace hydrocarbons.

    As our fearless leader points out, our nation’s dependence on oil is a economic & security risk that is becoming more & more risky all of the time. The 50 cent per gallon gas tax would be good on 2 fronts, 1st it would incent people to conserve, thus reducing our dependence on middle east oil until we come up with something better. Secondly, and more importantly, if the US can be the ones who invent a hydrogen based fuel system (for example) it will ensure another generation at least of economic strength.

    A successor fuel to hydrocarbons will become a reality in the next few decades. I feel that it is economically crucial that WE are the ones who master this new fuel source . . . If we don’t we will cede a good chunk of our economic primacy to whatever nation does take the lead.

  2. How can you say it doesn’t make a differnce? What about the pizza delivery guy or the paper guy(or gal)? What about the ac and heating small business with 5 repair trucks going 6 days a week? Or the single mother just trying to make ends meat?

    It all makes a difference, every penny.

    I also support alternative fuel measures such as the one our Governor just announced yesterday. Not how you would propose it but thats another story.

    I simply want to make sure there is transparency in our motor fuel tax structure. No gimmicks or vote buying here.

  3. JB says:

    If it didn’t make a difference, candlerparkliberal, then every Democrat this side of Tokyo wouldn’t demagogue the price of gasoline every time it rises above $2.50 a gallon.

  4. Demonbeck says:

    First of all, Rep. Davis, I am proud that we have legislators like you who are willing to jump in to an issue feet first and wade around in it so that you can understand it fully.

    Secondly, I am glad we have legislators like you who can understand this issue because what you just explained was confusing as hell.

    Candlerlib,

    You say things like this on here and I bet elsewhere you wonder why a majority of Americans don’t trust Democrats to make decisions for them.

    Are you really advocating a tax increase? Do you really believe that the government should increase taxes because citizens ultimately cannot make the best decisions for themselves?

    Seriously, why not have everyone just stay in their own pod from birth until death so they can get out of the government’s way as it decides what’s best for them? Clearly we cannot think for ourselves.

  5. rmckibben says:

    I also agree that taxes should be raised on gasoline, but I am willing to take an unbiased look at it. I propose this:

    Let’s look at how much we spend as a society on automobiles. This should include road construction and maintainance, the cost of all traffic signs and lights, as well the cost of the additional traffic cops needed to mainyain order on out streets (of course any money generated by tickets could be used to help offset the cost of additional police). All of that money should come from the moter fuel tax, not from general revenues as a good portion does now, and that is just the hard costs…what of the externalities? The pollution your giant SUV emits. Who pays for that? My point is that the government has been subsidising our car culture since the 60’s. If we truly believe in the free market, let’s actually have a free market. Not this distorted system we masquarade around as a free market.

  6. Demonbeck says:

    “Free market
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A free market is a market where price is determined by unregulated supply and demand; the opposite is a controlled market, where supply, demand, and price are set by a government.[1]”

    Let me see…hmm…yup.

  7. rmckibben says:

    Call it a tax, call it a user fee, frankly I don’t care what you call it. But using even some of my income tax (I live in Midtown and drive under 5K miles a year) to help pay for anything needed as a result of car use is a subsidy to the person whio lives in Cumming and works at Perimeter Center. Look up subsidy in Wikipedia and let me know what you find.

  8. Demonbeck says:

    Look at a map and realize that there is more to this state than Atlanta and metro Atlanta.

    You know I don’t use welfare and I don’t use Peach Care but you don’t see me calling for tax increases on the poor or minors.

    What you are calling for is socialist and anti-free market, not to mention asinine and misguided.

  9. rmckibben says:

    How is asking someone to pay the true cost of their activities socialist, never mind misguided? Let’s assume that right now there is no such thing as cars or roads and we were starting from scratch. The cost of building that system and maintaining it should fall on thise that use it. That is a free market. If the cost of building that system is too expensive to be paid for by it’s users, the answer is either not to build it or to develop technologies that lower the cost, not to use general tax revenue to help offset the cost. That my friend is socialist, my suggestion is the very definition of free market. Just because you don’t like the idea of having to actually pay for what you use doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

  10. rmckibben says:

    And with regards to your other comment, I know the state map of Georgia quite well. I also know that without Atlanta, Georgia would be Mississippi. The metro population is almost half of the entire state. The economic output is higher still. I’m sick and tired of these politicians (current Governer included) that treat Atlanta like it is something to be tolerated instead of celebrated. How would you feel if Atlanta seceded from Georgia and all of our tax revenue were kept here? Good luck trying to build a road or anything for that matter in a Georgia without Atlanta.

  11. Demonbeck says:

    “How would you feel if Atlanta seceded from Georgia and all of our tax revenue were kept here?”

    This kind of attitude is exactly what I would expect from an urban Democrat – especially one from Atlanta. This state’s economy relies on many factors working together as one contributing to the greater cause. To think that the companies based in Atlanta don’t rely on the raw products grown in our rural areas and imports and exports from our coastal ports is just plain silly.

    Atlanta is not an island unto itself – despite what most of our former state leaders might think. You can stick your head in the sand if you want, thank God our Governor doesn’t

  12. Demonbeck says:

    The state’s transportation system is a public necessity for many reasons.

    First and foremost, it is necessary for the defense of our homeland should an incident – natural disaster, terrorist or otherwise – occur.

    Secondly, the roads constructed and maintained by the GDOT are used to create jobs and revenue for this state.  According to the Georgia Retail Association, Retailers employ 1 in 5 Georgia workers and collect more than $5 billion in sales taxes on behalf of Georgia’s state and local governments annually.  How would you suggest the state pay for the extra 20% unemployment it would have on its hands without roads?  The revenue created by these retail businesses alone is 2 and a half times the size of the GDOT’s annual $2 billion dollar budget (Most of which is wasted on Atlanta projects – mind you.)

    Third, our public roads are used for protection of our citizens in terms of crime prevention and emergency services. (If you decided to go home and smoke whatever it is that you have been smoking and burn yourself and your home down, I am sure you would appreciate the services rendered by your local fire department, ambulance drivers and police officers when they saved your life. If perchance you don’t burn yourself and your home down after smoking whatever it is, you should thank the government for the roads that just delivered that pizza that satisfied any post-smoking food cravings you may have.)

    So when you ask for someone to pay the true cost of their activities, it is misguided. Clearly Georgia’s roads pay for themselves. When you declare that, “all of that money should come from the moter fuel tax, not from general revenues as a good portion does now” and ask “what of the externalities? The pollution your giant SUV emits. Who pays for that?” You are advocating for our government to take the decisions out of the hands of those who represent the people. You are advocating for the government to dictate what is best for the people – because they are unable to decide for themselves.

  13. rmckibben says:

    Demonbeck,

    I appreciated your post, very well spoken. Also, I appreciate the symbiotic relationship between urban and rural areas. My post was written out of frustration with the anti-Atlanta sentiment that I see coming from many of our more rural state reps. I should also let you know that I am, in fact, a registered Republican.

    I feel, however, that I must point out some of the flaws in your logic.

    “First and foremost, it is necessary for the defense of our homeland should an incident – natural disaster, terrorist or otherwise – occur.”

    If we are relying on our urban freeways to get us anywhere during an emergency, we are all dead!

    “Secondly, the roads constructed and maintained by the GDOT are used to create jobs and revenue for this state. ”

    This statement assumes that an automobile centered transportation plan is the only one that would have created jobs. If the US had chosen a more rail oriented transportation network jobs would still have been created. Different jobs to be sure, but jobs none the less. You are also implying with this statement that if we had not built these roads the money spent on them would not have been spent elsewhere. People were taxed to pay for these roads. Are you not the one who says that the people are better at deciding?

    “Third, our public roads are used for protection of our citizens in terms of crime prevention and emergency services”

    I agree with you completely, and I would add to that the increased economic productivity of a city with paved roads. What I’m talking about is the building of the commuter highways. There are those that still maintain that the Interstates are needed for our military to protect the homeland (apparantly you are one of them). If that were the case passenger cars would not be allowed to use them, they would be only wide enough to allow two lanes of sufficient width for military vehicles, and they would not plow through the Urban cores of almost every major American city. Limited access highways became about transportation long, long ago.

    The last statement in your post I take exception with is the assertion you make that I want to take choice’s away from the people and give them to government. With regards to SUVs, if only to stay with the same topic, I would never advocate that my government take away one’s liberty, unless the pollution that liberty causes takes away my life and pursuit of happiness.

    And the whole pot reference…really???

  14. Demonbeck says:

    The pot reference was made in an attempt at humor, but also because it allowed me to bring up apt points about police, ambulances, firefighters and, of course, the pizza delivery guy.

    Living in Savannah, I have fled natural disasters on several occasions. I am sure all of us remember the mass exodus of many of our major cities on 9/11. While the plans were not in place in many of those cities, the freeways do work to get a lot of people out very quickly if necessary, especially if traffic is allowed to go out on both sides of the road. History has also proven that if Mayor Nagin had used his cities school buses, much of the tragedy experienced in NOLA could have been averted. (I am not saying ALL, but much)

    If the US had used more rail then rail would be larger and we would have a more rail-oriented economy? Hardly. Look at the size of the countries that use rail predominantly. Rail works in the Northeast. Rail does not work in the sparsely populated Southeast or West. Even if it could have worked, your original premise would still stand for public rail roads. If you aren’t using them, why should you pay for them? Not to mention the fact that our government would have seized control of the operations on these publicly funded rail lines long ago. (If you hadn’t noticed, our gov’t isn’t all that efficient.) Even rail-oriented economies have extensive road systems as well.

    Limited access highways are about transportation these days. However, their existence does still allow for the rapid deployment of troops should America be attacked.

    I am sorry you take exception to my post asserting that you would take choice from the people – but I stand by it. Increasing taxes on gas to pay for all roads does take choice away from the people. They lose the choice to live out of crime-infested cities with poor schools. They lose the choice to decide whether to drive to Orlando and see Mickey Mouse or Atlanta and see the Aquarium. Your idea of increasing gas taxes for the sake of your pockets or your ideals regarding the environment is about you and a small, small percentage of the population. You have made the choice to drive less than 5 miles a year – thus you pay less gas taxes than most of us. However, to suggest changing the entire economy to suit your needs over those of 99% of America? Come on.

    And if pollution in Atlanta is bothering you, why not move down to southern Georgia where don’t have that problem? You could telecommute to work and buy an electric car to get around – it’s your choice.

  15. rmckibben says:

    I concede that highways can be used as an effective evacuation means, also that much of what happened in NO was a failure at the local level.

    You say rail does not work in any part of the country outside of the northeast, yet many southern and western town were located around rail stations and every large city had a flourishing local rail network. Many of them were privately owned and were bought up by a front company backed by GM, Goodyear and Standard Oil. Then prompltly shut down. Conveniently, GM stepped in and sold the cities buses, equiped with Goodyear tires and running on (Standard) oil. Funny how that works. All of this was made possible by the creation of the limited access highway and the passage of the Federal Highway Act in 1956. Creating for the first time the possibility for the masses to “live out of crime-infested cities with poor schools”.

    And why wouldn’t we? Yes the initial infrastructure was the largest public works project in the history of human civilization, but we had just destroyed Europe and Asia, making us the only place on earth that had any manufacturing infrastructure, and we had more oil then we know what to do with. We could afford it. Times have changed, and I think this is at the heart our disagreement .

    You see our current way of living as a “right”. Up there with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is not. Maintaining the modern suburban way of life is incredibly energy intensive. That is it’s eventual downfall. In an era of ever increasing global energy use we will eventually run into supply and demand issues. Think of recent capacity issues as a harbinger of things to come. It’s not that I want to take away someone’s right to choose. It’s that I don’t want my country to Bankrupt itself trying to cling to a way of life that is becoming prohibitively expensive.

  16. rmckibben says:

    You are right that it wouldn’t impact me quite as much as the typical American, but my job is just as tied to the health of the national economy as yours.

    Unless there is a miraculous breakthrough in energy production within the next 10-15 years (maybe even 20 if the global economy slows down a little bit) we are in trouble. Even with new discoveries, like the one made in the Gulf of Mexico, we are pumping far more oil every year then we discover, and have been for about 20 years. What is the price point of gasoline, that magic level, that would send the US economy in to that spiraling hole of stagflation? Is it $5 a gallon? $7? $10? I’m fairly certain that we wil see that in our lifetimes. Unless you’re over 80.

  17. Demonbeck says:

    We have seen a tremendous jump in fuel efficiency recently in the auto industry and with this issue so closely tied to auto sales, I have to believe that those numbers will continue to increase – especially if gas continues the general upward trend. If it hovers at or below $2.00 a gallon though, I don’t see any progress on that being made.

    As for your conspiracy theory McKibbon, I generally don’t submit to those and usually write people who support them as whack jobs. I have seen your more lucid statements though as pass that off as a whim. GM, Standard Oil and Goodyear were and are huge conglomerates with tentacles in everything. These kinds of companies are all about profit and are rarely forward-thinking enough to:

    1. Work together like this – even for a common cause
    2. Make bad investments to kill what was a thriving industry – in order to take a chance on a not so thriving industry. Trucking was a localized industry in the 50s and highways were not so well developed as they are today.

    Their stockholders then and now are only concerned about today’s profits not profits thirty, forty or fifty years from now.

    Your other statements about “not wanting to take away someone’s right to choose” or not wanting our “country to Bankrupt itself trying to cling to a way of life that is becoming prohibitively expensive” are both nice to say but are incorrect and unfounded (in that order.)

    By increasing gas taxes to the point where they replace funded currently used to maintain and build roads by both state and federal governments, you are, in fact, asking the government to take away citizen’s rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness simply because you, a member of the extreme minority (on this subject,) don’t like the way things are run presently. The right these transportation dollars afford Americans like living outside of crime-infested cities with poor schools ranks right up there with free speech, freedom of religion and the right to bear arms. It will ultimately only serve to increase urban sprawl in our major cities and ports and decrease opportunity in smaller towns – forcing them back to a more agrarian base – not to mention putting America’s manufacturing, transportation/logistics and related industries at an even greater disadvantage than they are at today. In turn, your trip to the grocery store or big box retailer would become much more expensive than it already is.

  18. Demonbeck says:

    With reference to your statement regarding bankrupting the economy. (I neglected to respond fully to that charge. Got caught up in work – don’t they know it’s Friday?) Our economy is like water – if there is an easier or cheaper way to get products to market, the market will find it and create it. It will change as the economy necessitates.

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