ATLANTA - With the statewide moratorium on gas taxes expiring at midnight, state officials and convenience stores are scrambling to figure out how to start charging the taxes again without sparking new fears of price gouging.
State officials also looked to ease concern that gas prices would automatically jump 15 cents a gallon overnight today after the tax suspension ends, potentially sparking a run on fuel.
Gov. Sonny Perdue said Thursday that he would extend for two weeks, to Oct. 14, his executive order declaring a state of emergency and triggering a state crackdown on price gouging.
"Most gas retailers in Georgia have maintained fair prices, reflecting the basic law of supply and demand," Mr. Perdue said in a statement. "We will continue to protect Georgians from the small minority of businesses who may try to exploit an already difficult situation."
But Heather Hedrick, a spokeswoman for the governor, said the gas tax relief announced by Mr. Perdue earlier this month and approved by the General Assembly would not be extended. She said the suspension of all state taxes on fuel, which amounts to about 15 cents a gallon when sales taxes are included, was paid for by a surplus created by higher gas prices before the hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast region..
Department of Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham said, "Consumers should not see an immediate jump in gas prices, because retailers will have to work through their current supply, on which they did not have to pay the state's motor fuel taxes."