(The Center Square) – Gov. Brian Kemp has signed an executive order halting Georgia’s fuel tax in response to the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline.
The Alpharetta-based Colonial Pipeline reported a ransomware attack Friday, resulting in a temporary shutdown and leading to a spike in gas prices. Kemp’s emergency order lasts through Saturday.
Georgia’s average gas prices Tuesday ranged from $2.87 a gallon for regular fuel, up 17 cents from a week ago, to $3.49 a gallon for for premium fuel, up 7 cents from a week ago, according to AAA. The state’s motor fuel excise tax rate is 28.7 cents a gallon. Local fuel tax varies by county.
Gas tracking website GasBuddy was reporting some Georgia gas stations already have run out of fuel.
“We are taking action to relieve some of the cost burden from Georgians as Colonial recovers by suspending fuel taxes, increasing the weight limit for supply trucks, and prohibiting price gouging,” Kemp said in a statement Tuesday. “We expect these measures to be temporary as Colonial plans to be fully up and running later this week.”
Colonial Pipeline’s 5,500-mile system is the largest refined products pipeline system in the U.S. It provides about 45% of the fuel on the East Coast between Texas and New York. AAA officials said the longer the system is down, the greater the impact will be on the region.
AAA reported the national gas price average jumped 6 cents to $2.96 a gallon this week and could increase by 3 cents more if the trend continues, making the national average the most expensive since November 2014.
“This shutdown will have implications on both gasoline supply and prices, but the impact will vary regionally, AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee said. “Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the East Coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and price increases, as early as this week. These states may see prices increase 3 to 7 cents this week.”
AAA said consumers could see a 15- to 18-day delay in fuel services after the pipeline is restored.
Kemp said the increase in weight limits for trucks transporting fuel would provide more supply for stations as they receive deliveries. The order also prohibits price gouging by gas stations.
“There is no need to rush to the gas station to fill up every tank you have and hoard gas,” Kemp said. “With the measures we have taken today, I am hopeful we can get more supply to stations and get through to this weekend when we hope Colonial will return to normal.”