As the US average for a gallon of regular gas hovers a penny below $5, Georgia holds the distinction of having the lowest average price per gallon in the nation – $4.42.
According to the most recent reading from AAA Friday, Georgia’s average price is exactly $2 behind the highest US price of $6.42 in California. Nevada at $5.62 and Illinois at $5.56 are the next two highest, while Arkansas and Mississippi are behind Georgia for the lowest at $4.51 per gallon.
“It’s certainly affected the number of trips I take to the store and other places,” Tom Powers of Stilson said Friday as he was getting gas at Parker’s on Brampton Ave. “And I never fill up anymore. Can’t afford that big hit.”
Gas was $4.19 with a Parker’s card and $4.29 per gallon without one Friday afternoon. Most stations in the Statesboro area remain below, for now, the state average cost per gallon.
GasBuddy, a service that helps drivers find deals on gas, said prices in Georgia are, on average, 63 cents per gallon higher than one month ago and $1.55 higher than a year ago.
Nationally, Friday marked the 14th straight day, and the 31st time in the last 32 that gas has set a record in America, according to AAA. Just in the two weeks since Memorial Day weekend kicked off the traditional summer driving season, national gas prices have climbed 39 cents.
One reason gas prices have stayed lower in Georgia than other parts of the nation is the state tax on gas has been suspended since the state legislature approved a measure proposed by Gov. Brian Kemp in March.
Kemp extended the order through July 15 and may extend it again after that. Kemp abated gas taxes in 2021 during a pipeline shutdown, and former Gov. Nathan Deal suspended gas taxes multiple times.
Georgia’s gasoline price normally includes a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and a state tax of 29.1 cents per gallon. A number of cities and counties also charge taxes. Federal taxes on diesel fuel are 24.4 cents per gallon, while Georgia’s tax on diesel is 32.6 cents per gallon.
Those taxes normally collect about $150 million a month that Georgia uses to build and maintain roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. Kemp expects to make up the revenue from accumulated surplus or the state's rainy day fund. Georgia had $1.25 billion left over after last year's budget even after it decided to pay out $1.1 billion in one-time income tax refunds.
$5 per gallon
For much of the country, $5 gas is already here.
There are now 20 states plus Washington, DC, with averages of $5 or above. As of Thursday, AAA reported that 31% of the nation's 130,000 gas stations already were selling gas for more than $5 a gallon.
And the worst may be yet to come for drivers. The national average for gasoline could be close to $6 by later this summer, a AAA spokesperson said.
“People are still fueling up, despite these high prices,” Andrew Gross with AAA said. “At some point, drivers may change their daily driving habits or lifestyle due to these high prices, but we are not there yet.”
With the summer travel season just getting underway, demand for gasoline, coupled with the cut-off of Russian oil shipments due to the war in Ukraine, is sending oil prices higher on global markets, as well. The average price for a gallon in England is $8.80 and $8.60 throughout Europe.
While the United States has never imported significant amounts of oil from Russia, the commodity is traded on global markets, and Europe was greatly dependent on Russian exports. The EU's recent decision to ban oil tanker shipments from Russia as sent oil prices soaring on those global markets.
The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil, the benchmark used in global markets, is now above $124 a barrel, up from just less than $100 a month ago. Goldman Sachs predicted the average price for a barrel of Brent crude will be $140 a barrel between July and September.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.