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Pump prices rise 3 cents after gas tax increase

State's record gas price is $4.16

POSTED: May 2, 2011 12:22 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Georgia motorists get another increase at the gas pump on Sunday as the state levies a gas tax increase.

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Teirah Williams spends $80 — a third of her paycheck — on fuel each week. But she's not filling up a gas-guzzling SUV. She's in a tiny yellow Ford Focus.

Between school, work and taking care of her 10-month-old, Williams, 19, is pulling up to the pump about three times a week.

"I can't really afford it," Williams said after pumping gas for $3.83 a gallon at the QuikTrip on EE Butler Parkway Sunday.

Gas prices rose 3 cents on Sunday, but this increase wasn't a result of the oil industry.

The Georgia Department of Revenue mandated an increase in the motor fuel sales tax because the average cost of gas has increased by more than 25 percent since the last time the price was evaluated.

According to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average cost of unleaded fuel in Georgia was $3.82 on Sunday, up 32 cents from a month ago, and up more than a dollar from this time last year.

Georgia's average gas price is 12 cents below the national average of $3.94, but for many drivers, like Diane Weld, it doesn't hurt any less.

Filling up a minivan, Weld, 38, spends about $100 a week driving from her home in Habersham County to work in Cleveland and to church in Gainesville.

She's frustrated the state and national government are not doing more to alleviate the high prices.

"I think it's absolutely ridiculous that gas is going up and they don't want to do anything about it," she said.

In 2008 Gov. Sonny Perdue signed an executive order suspending a 2.9-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase,
saying it would have been too much of a burden on families already struggling with the high gas prices at the time. Georgia's record was set in September of that year, at $4.16 a gallon.

In a recent news conference, Gov. Nathan Deal said he did not plan on suspending the gas tax increase.

Seven years ago, filling up Raymond Cortez's taxi wasn't a problem: gas was just $1.20. Now the 46-year-old Gainesville resident spends $30 a day keeping his car on the road.

He said the rising cost of gas is eating into the money he and other taxi drivers get to bring home.

As much as drivers are feeling the effects of higher-priced fuel in their day-to-day lives, it is also marooning their summer leisure plans.

Williams wanted to visit friends in Indiana over the summer, but now she's not sure she'll have the money to hit the road.

"It depends how money goes because of the gas prices," she said.

Weld is getting married in Tennessee later this month, and she's trying not to dwell on how much it will cost to get there.

"We're trying not to let it affect or ruin any of our plans," Weld said.

 



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