The Georgia Department of Revenue is giving motorists a present at the start of the new year, a drop in motor fuel taxes.
The state sales tax on gasoline will drop from 11 cents per gallon to 7.1 cents per gallon on Thursday.
Under Georgia law, the revenue department sets the sales tax for gasoline, diesel fuel, aviation fuel and liquefied propane gas on Jan. 1 and July 1 each year. This year, Gov. Sonny Perdue issued an executive order in June freezing the sales tax at the January 2008 level.
This prevented a tax-related increase when prices reached record highs in September and October.
Maya Patel, who owns the Lakeshore Texaco convenience store, said a 4 cent cut was good news and would bring in customers.
"A few cents makes a big difference," Patel said.
On Monday, his regular unleaded was selling at $1.43 per gallon. However, an uptick in prices resulted in raising the price to $1.45 per gallon on Tuesday.
Patel said he is losing about a nickel a gallon at that price, but hopes to make up for the difference in sales of impulse items such as candy, soft drinks, coffee and cigarettes.
He said lower prices for gasoline have made customers more willing to spring for the in-store merchandise.
The local portion of the sales tax on gasoline also will drop. The levy, which includes the local option and special purpose taxes, is calculated on an average price set by the Georgia Department of Revenue.
The new price will be $1.77 per gallon for all blends of gasoline and $2.57 for diesel fuel.
The state will set the sales tax rates again on July 1, unless there is a 25 percent change in the sales price of any fuel at any time.
In addition, the state has a flat excise tax of 7.5 cents per gallon that is used to fund transportation projects in the state.
In November, the state sold less motor fuel than a year earlier.
The revenue department collected $38.39 million in motor fuel excise tax during November 2008 compared with $42.1 million in November 2007, a drop of 8.8 percent.