Gov. Ducey against suspending Arizona’s gas tax to provide drivers relief at the pump

Mar 18, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: 9:19 am

(File photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...

(File photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(File photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — As Arizona drivers pay a lot more for gas, there is something that could be done at the state level to provide some relief.

The state’s 18 cents per gallon gasoline tax could be suspended. That would save the average Arizona driver $103 per year, or $8.60 per month, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Prices in Arizona now hover above $4.60 a gallon for regular gasoline and above $5.10 for diesel, according to AAA in Arizona.

While Gov. Doug Ducey told reporters Tuesday recent gas prices are “like nothing we’ve seen in our lifetime,” he doesn’t believe suspending the gas tax in Arizona is the answer.

“We should be expanding energy production and not pursuing gimmicks, especially when we have infrastructure projects in the state that need resources,” Ducey said.

Suspending the gas tax would mean a $540 million per year loss to the Arizona Highway User Revenue Fund, which pays for highway construction, improvements and other related expenses throughout the state. The funds are also shared with cities, towns and counties.

Additionally, it would lead to ADOT’s bond ratings being lowered. That would result in an increased cost for borrowing money.

Ducey said a better long-term solution would be to restart construction on the Keystone XL pipeline project, which President Joe Biden canceled after he took office. He added there are “all kinds of opportunities to tap supply.”

“It wasn’t all that long ago America was independent,” the governor said. “We were selling energy to our friends. Now we’re buying from our enemies.”

Members of Congress are also trying to come up with solutions to help consumers struggling with high gas prices. They’re considering a bill to suspend the federal gas tax, which is 18.4 cents per gallon, for the remainder of the year.

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly is one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

“Arizonans are paying some of the highest prices for gas we have seen in years and it’s putting a strain on families who need to fill up the tank to get to work and school,“ Kelly said in a statement last month.

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Gov. Ducey against suspending Arizona’s gas tax to provide drivers relief at the pump