Proposals to suspend state levies at the pump are supported by Democratic, Republican and independent voters, according to a Siena College poll.
Stanley Hogan, an East Harlem resident, hearing about proposals by Democratic and Republican state legislators to rollback or offset New York State’s gasoline tax said relief cannot come soon enough. If it takes four weeks, that means “I spent another $100 a month on gas where I could spend $100 on food and clothes for my household,” he said. “That has a cause-and-effect on how I operate, maintain a vehicle, and how I feed my family.”
Relief for Hogan and other New York motorists may be around the corner. While proposals to suspend the state’s 48.22 cents a gallon gasoline tax or provide other forms of aid are circulating in the legislature, Gov. Kathy Hochul has expressed a willingness to include some form of the proposals in her executive budget plan due April 1, according to the New York Times.
In the light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, President Joe Biden warned the United States when he announced the March 8th Executive Order (E.O.) to ban imports of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and goal.
“The decision today is not without cost here at home,” Biden said. “Since Putin began his military buildup on Ukrainian borders, just since then, the price at the gas pump in America went up 75 cents. And with this action, it’s going to go up further.”
The average price of a gallon of gasoline in New York City jumped 11% to $4.48 as of March 13 from $4.04 on March 7, the day before Biden’s announcement, according to the New York State database. The price has since retreated to $4.46 on March 21, the late date for which data is available from the state.
One proposal, by New York State Senator Fred Akshar, a Republican, would suspend gasoline taxes from May through September. The bill has 13 co-sponsors, all from his party.
Proposals to provide fuel tax relief have bipartisan support among voters, according to a Siena College poll released March 28. A suspension of gasoline taxes was backed by 75% of Republicans, 70% of Democrats and 66% of independents in the survey, Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement on the school’s website.
Motorists may get some relief in the form of increased supply of crude onto the market.
President Biden announced on March 31 that the United States will release up to 180 million barrels of oil from the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve to put downward pressure on fuel prices. This action resulted in a drop in gas prices in these last hours.
Meanwhile, higher gasoline prices are pinching New York drivers, especially those engaged in the transportation industry, such as drivers of taxicabs and vehicles for ride hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft.
“Taxi drivers put in about 40,000 miles a year,” Erhan Tuncel, a member of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said in a telephone interview. “You have to consider that they make a living by driving. They don’t drive for pleasure.”
The cab drivers group is seeking a fare increase, which would be the first one since July 2012, when fees were raised 17%. “They deserve something more than just a state not collecting sales tax on gasoline,” Tuncel said.
On March 29, the coalition of Justice for App Workers formed a caravan across the Brooklyn Bridge to Uber's Manhattan headquarters to demand wage increases amid the jump in gasoline prices.
"Costs keep going up, and the companies take more and more for their own profits," Raul Rivera, leader of Justice for App Workers and a member of NYC Drivers Unite, said in a March 29 statement.
Uber driver Malik Anwaar said “even before high gas prices, we struggled to make ends meet.”
Uber drivers had already asked the company for a customer surcharge of between 45 cents and 55 cents. Uber declined.
Maximiliano Pau, a Brooklyn-based worker who drives about 200 miles a week for work, said he used to be able to fill up his car for $40, but now spends at least $70 to $75.
In neighboring Connecticut, a suspension of the state gasoline tax has already gone into effect.