Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis calls for $1 billion in gas tax relief

To confront inflation, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday he will ask lawmakers next year to temporarily "zero out" state gas taxes.

Continuing to contrast his economic approach to the Biden White House, DeSantis said the approximately 25-cent-a-gallon "gas tax relief" proposal could save the average Florida family up to $200 over a five- to six-month period, while reducing state revenue by more than $1 billion. DeSantis wants lawmakers to approve it during the legislative session that starts Jan. 11.

"We've always been very strong on tax relief in Florida. We did things like sportsmen's relief (a sales-tax "holiday" around July 4). We've done back-to-school (tax holidays). We've done all that stuff. And that's good. But this is, I think, really, really big," DeSantis said while at a Buc-ee's convenience store in Daytona Beach.

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Later at a Daily’s convenience store in Jacksonville, DeSantis said, "It's clearly not going to eliminate all the inflation, because it's gone up so much. But it will make a real difference in folks' pocketbooks. And I think we're going to get a lot of good support for that." 

Arch "Beaver" Aplin III, owner of the Texas-based Buc-ee's chain, called the proposal a "phenomenal idea" and said he anticipates "most companies" will lower pump prices when the discount is enacted.

"If this, in fact, happens and they lower the tax, the day they lower it we’ll roll back the pumps the entire 25 cents instantly," Aplin said.

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Florida has deep financial reserves because of federal COVID-19 stimulus money, and DeSantis said the reduction in gas-tax revenue won’t hinder the state Department of Transportation’s annual road program. 

"We're doing infrastructure, not just roads, including roads, also the water resources, all that," DeSantis said. "We probably have never had such strong reserves in the history of the state. So, we have the ability to provide relief for people, and I don't think we're going to miss a beat." 

desantis gas prices

AAA reported on Monday that the average price of gasoline in Florida jumped 10 cents, reaching $3.36 per gallon. That is said to be the highest daily average price since Sept. 2014.

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"Florida drivers are going to find the most expensive Thanksgiving gas prices in 8 years (2013). The average fill-up will cost $50 for a 15-gallon tank. That's $13 more than what Thanksgiving drivers paid pre-pandemic (2019)," they said.

AAA explained though that gas prices should decline through the holidays.

In the meantime, they said that drivers can save some money at the pump by:

  • Pay in cash: Some retailers reportedly charge a few cents per gallon more for those who pay with a credit card.
  • Shop around: Retailers with the most expensive gas prices are said to usually be located near airports, attractions, and interstate on and off ramps.
  • Keep your vehicle properly maintained: AAA said that poor vehicle maintenance can lead to car trouble and reduces fuel economy. Tire pressure, motor oil, and air filters also can affect your vehicle’s fuel consumption.
  • Consider carpooling, combing errands, or driving the most fuel-efficient vehicle
  • Remove excess weight: They said that the heavier your car, the harder your engine has to work.
  • Drive conservatively: Speeding and heavy acceleration is said to burn gasoline faster.
  • Enroll in savings programs: AAA members can reportedly save 5 cents per gallon if they enroll in the Fuel Rewards program and fill up at Shell. More information HERE.

Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.