GREENSBORO, N.C. — Lawmakers have discussed eliminating gas taxes at the federal and state level to alleviate sticker shock at the pump.
When you get a gallon of gas in North Carolina, you pay a state tax of 36 cents and a federal tax of around 18 cents, according to a Triad economist.
Even though suspending the gas tax would save drivers money, it would likely delay much-needed revenue for transportation projects.
This week, Democratic governors in six states sent a letter to Congress urging federal lawmakers to pass the Gas Prices Relief Act to suspend the federal gas tax.
The Gas Prices Relief Act would suspend the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax until Jan. 1, 2023.
On the state level, a suspended gas tax would make a gallon 36 cents cheaper on top of that 18 cents.
North Carolina State economist Mike Walden said that would be significant for drivers, but suspending these taxes could mean a halt on the state's efforts to improve and upgrade roads, bridges, and major highways.
We heard from drivers about what they think should happen.
“I mean, the gas prices are temporary, so I feel like the roads and everything else is more important,” Greensboro native Breon Rembert said.
Others told us gas price relief needs to happen sooner than later.
“They have the money for the roads; they need to lower the gas prices. People can’t eat now. It’s like, do I eat or do I put gas in the car?" Franklin Daye, of Greensboro, said.
When asked about the possibility of lifting the gas tax, a spokesperson for Governor Roy Cooper said he would want to make sure the road projects continue and the savings actually go to the customers.
Senator Phil Berger is skeptical, saying, "Unless we get serious about addressing supply, we'll cut the gas tax, the price will still go up and what do you do then?"
Walden said this highlights a long-term issue. He said instead of the gas tax, people could pay a fee per mile they drive.
As of Sunday, the national average price of gas is $4.32. In our state, it's an average of $4.18.