BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Marylanders are bracing to pay more at the pump starting Friday due to a legislatively mandated automatic gas tax increase.
A bill passed in 2013 calls for an automatic gas tax increase based on inflation, which is measured by the Consumer Price Index.
Starting Friday drivers will pay about 7 cents more per gallon for gas. This brings to total state gas tax from 36 cents a gallon to 43 cents per gallon.
Ahead of the hike, some elected officials called on the Maryland General Assembly to convene a special session to suspend the state's gas tax.
"Regular families can't afford to fill up their car," said Congressman Andy Harris.
The congressman joined Delegate Kathy Szeliga at a gas station in Perry Hall on Monday, demanding relief for residents from soaring gas prices.
"There's a seven billion dollar surplus right now in the state of Maryland and the increase, the 7 cents a gallon that's coming into effect July 1, is an extra $200 million in the coming year in taxes. We know they can suspend that," Delegate Szeliga said.
At a separate press event Monday, Comptroller Peter Franchot met with reporters at a gas station in Hyattsville to again call for a gas tax holiday and stimulus checks.
"It's called a gas tax holiday, it's called urging companies to let people work remotely so they don't have to buy gas and it concerns survival checks of $2,000 dollars for each of the low-income families," said Comptroller Franchot.
Franchot also explained that he does not have the authority to put a pause on the state gas tax.
These efforts come as the average price of regular gas in the state of Maryland sits at $4.84, according to AAA. For those depending on their vehicles for work, it's crippling.
"It's not even an option. It's a necessity. We need this. Some of us work four, five, maybe eight hours on the road, and when half of our earnings go back to gas, then we're right back where we started," said Lisa Magruta, who works as a delivery driver.
On top of the increase in the state gas tax, people are also paying a federal gas tax. That's about 18 cents per gallon. So starting Friday, you will be spending more than 60 cents per gallon in total gas taxes.
"I think it's a lot. I think everything being inflated, you get kind of jaded of what 60 cents is but it's just one gallon and a lot of cars don't get that great of mileage so it adds up really fast," said Katherine Auchterlonie.
President Joe Biden last week called on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for three months and urged states to suspend their own gas taxes or provide similar relief.
In response to these new efforts, Senate President Ferguson and Speaker Jones reissued a joint statement that was released last Wednesday:
The Maryland General Assembly already did exactly what President Biden is proposing at the federal level: implemented a temporary pause on the State gas tax while backfilling our Transportation Trust Fund to ensure maintenance of our roads and bridges.
States cannot unilaterally bear the burden of increased gas prices driven in part by Putin's aggression in Ukraine and in part by the corporate greed of oil companies bringing in record profits.
We hope to see Congress follow Maryland's lead and give all Americans a respite from increasing prices at the pump.
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