It’s not a tax increase, just a return to the norm for drivers statewide who are seeing the sudden increase in gas prices over the past few days and have felt the sticker shock.

Gas as of this posting is sitting at $2.99 a gallon for unleaded at many stations across Polk County, a big jump in recent days after a 10-month break put in place by the state government on collections.

The 29.1 cents per gallon that is charged on gas, and 32.1 cents per gallon on diesel caused the prices to jump in just a few days time.

Prices at the pump for mid-grade are now sitting at $3.50 a gallon, and closer to $4 for premium.

Governor Brian Kemp signed a bipartisan supported law to suspend collections of gas taxes in March 2022 and extended the break for Georgia consumers seven times afterward. The state could have picked up an estimated $1.7 billion in collections off of gas taxes had they been left in place.

Since tax collections went back into effect on Wednesday, the price increased by at least 30 cents in the past days at many stations around the area. Many were sticking with a price point of $2.99, but some stations were set as high as $3.09 a gallon.

Georgians were paying the lowest price at the pump nationwide before Wednesday, with the statewide average at $2.81 a gallon per AAA.

Now AAA has gas prices are sitting at an average of $3.06 statewide for a gallon of unleaded, and $3.30 nationwide as of this posting. Hawaii (mainly due to transportation costs from refineries on the mainland) has the highest gas prices in the nation at $4.99 a gallon for unleaded. California is next in line, sitting at an average price of $4.24.

Mississippi has the cheapest gas on average at the moment, sitting at $2.83 a gallon. Georgia’s pricing is sitting about the mean between those surrounding states. Florida has gas prices up to $3.24 a gallon, while Tennessee is down to $2.96 a gallon.

Lawmakers can ratify an extension of the break in collections again on gas taxes, and have considered doing so and using part of the state’s $6.6 billion surplus to make up for losses of revenue from gas taxes to cover the cost of road infrastructure projects.

Prices have likely hit a peak for this time of year, and unless oil markets globally hit some sort of rough patch heading into the spring months.

Expect prices to start decreasing again in February for a time before potential increases. These come annually due to refinery maintenance shutdowns and requirements needed for gas production for summer will likely see prices increase again.

However with the increase, Georgians who have already been hit by tough economic conditions will be forced to cut back on their driving and that may lead to additional rumbles throughout local, state and national economic forces that are already suffering from inflation and decreases in consumer spending.

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