South Carolina officials pitching cheap gas as tourist attraction

Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 7:54 PM
Last updated 10:27 PM
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COLUMBIA — South Caro­lina’s tourism department hopes to woo visitors with the promise of cheaper gasoline.

“We actually mention that in some of our public relations stuff now – that we have some of the least expensive gas,” Duane Par­rish, the director of the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, said during a three-day state tourism conference that ended Wednesday.

“Eighty percent of the people here have to buy gas. Why not?” Parrish said of efforts to advertise low gas prices.

The agency is also trying to encourage residents to travel within South Carolina.

The top states whose residents travel to South Carolina destinations include North Carolina at 19 percent, Georgia at 13 percent, Virginia at 5 percent, and Florida at 4 percent, according to the department.

The secret to South Caro­lina’s cheap gas lies in its gas tax of about 16 cents per gallon. The tax is among the lowest in the nation and hasn’t been raised since 1987. Funding to fix and maintain roads comes largely from revenue generated by the gas tax.

On the flip side, South Carolina drivers pay an average of $265 each year fixing their vehicles because of poor road conditions, according to one estimate.

On Friday, regular fuel averaged $3.25 per gallon in South Carolina, $3.39 in Georgia, $3.52 in Florida, and $3.43 in North Carolina, according to AAA. Only eight states, concentrated in the West, had lower gas prices than South Carolina.

The South Carolina Al­liance to Fix Our Roads is advocating for new revenue to better maintain highways. The most obvious idea, to raise the gas tax, has always met swift political resistance.

Kristen Lominack, the associate director of the nonprofit alliance, said that’s not necessarily what the group is recommending. She said it’s just one option among a variety that include changes to the vehicle sales tax and rental car fees.

South Carolina has 907 structurally deficient bridges and 774 functionally obsolete bridges, according to the alliance. The nonprofit says an additional $31 million is needed annually simply for bridge replacement, let alone billions for roads in the future.

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soapy_725 02/02/13 - 10:55 am
Gas price myths?

SC has a per gallon tax. GA has a per dollar value tax on gasoline.

Transportation of gasoline determines the cost, i.e. rural locations are higher. 2011 we traveled west. Gasoline was cheaper that Augusta in SD, ND, WY, CO, UT and even in a remote corner of ID called Hell's Canyon Rec. Area. Augusta is 150 miles from Savannah.

Whatever the market will bear and in GA the more the gas costs, the more taxes the government collects.

OpenCurtain 02/03/13 - 07:54 am
We fill up and shop in North Augusta

The North Augusta vs. West Augusta trip distance is a neutral for many of us South Sider's and is worth the trip.

In our case we always save at least the cost of another gallon of gas each fill up, just in the fuel taxes $3.50 x 52 = $182. Plus using our Kroger Card saves another $.10 to $.50 cents a gallon, if it is a refill Medication Week.

The amount saved on taxes may not sound like much. But we spend just over $200 in groceries, $35 in Gas, and another $50 or so at Wally World and Yo-Mart each week.

That is over $14,500 a year I we don't spend in ARC / GA. and about $900 in GA and ARC taxes we are providing other tax base.

Think what Fred Russell would do with an extra $10,800,000 in tax revenue a year? ($900 x 11,000 weekly day trip border crossers)

It does not take a Math Teacher to figure out.
Lower Taxes also mean lower overall prices.
Lower prices mean more purchases and shoppers.

If you have been keeping track of food prices lately you have to of seen the results of the promised lower taxes on the middle class ... NOT.

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