Big news, or so they say, out of New York as Governor Kathy Hochul signs a fuel tax suspension for all vehicles that was effective on June 1 and will last until the end of the year. The suspension includes: motor fuel excise tax; state sales tax; and Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District sales tax. These added together make up at least a $0.16 discount on the fuel price. Be patient, because stations do not update their pricing until the next tanker load arrives.
New York state wasn’t the only one to cut the fuel taxes
Some New York counties have also signed a cap on the local taxes as well. Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe, Putnam, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Ulster, Wayne and Yates counties will collect tax only on the first $2.00 charged per gallon of gas and diesel. Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Jefferson, Livingston, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Suffolk and Westchester counties will collect tax only on the first $3.00 charged.
“As gas prices continue to hit record highs, the Assembly Majority remains committed to delivering relief for New York’s families and small businesses. I am hopeful that this suspension of the gas tax by the state and certain counties will alleviate some economic pressure as families prepare for their summer vacations and businesses rebound from the economic impacts of the pandemic.” – New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
Too good to be true, bet ya a pizza on it
So let’s get down to the brass tacks of this so-called “tax holiday.” Is it really going to help? Not really, in my opinion. Sixteen cents a gallon is not much when fuel is still $6.13 at the Newburgh, New York Pilot Truck Stop. Yes, I still have my Pilot/Flying J app and checked. Time to break out the abacus and do some math.
Most enterprise fleet trucks run dual 75-gallon tanks for a total of 150 gallons. Owner- operators can spec out a larger tank, but that’s what my leased truck had, so I’m going with that. Sixteen cents per gallon multiplied by 150 gallons is just $24! You can’t even buy a cheese pizza from a reputable pizzeria in New York City for $24. I asked an expert to be sure!
Someone needs to tell Hochul that there are still bills to pay
Now the next situation. When you suspend a tax, the consumers of said tax revenue don’t stop wanting their money. Governor Hochul’s $585 million dollar tax vacation has to be paid somehow, and that wallet is called the New York State General Fund. Around $292 million, or about 80% of the state fuel taxes, goes to infrastructure and road maintenance. The remainder gets sent to pay for mass transit subsidies.
I’m not the only one not liking this move; there are quite a few groups also shaking their fists. Environmental groups are complaining that the tax break is putting more people back on the roads, and that the state should focus on discouraging driving. Citizen groups, like the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee, say the tax holiday sets a dangerous precedent for when there’s a crisis.
“This sets a dangerous precedent and opens the door to setting triggers for suspending this important revenue if gas prices go too high or raiding the revenue for other uses.”Lisa Daglian, Executive Director, Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee
So to put it simply, I think the tax suspension is a dud. It is only a 3.33% discount on the New York City average regular gas price of $4.817 listed on AAA’s website as of June 3. Diesel is even worse, with only a 2.54% discount on the $6.316 AAA New York state average fuel price. The miniscule discounts won’t solve the problem of fuel prices that have skyrocketed, and unfortunately, may continue to climb as the summer goes on…