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Maryland's Gas-Tax Holiday Ends On Sunday

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Gas prices in Maryland are set to surge above $4 per gallon tomorrow after Maryland's gas-tax holiday expires.

The pending cost increase prompted drivers to take advantage of the low gas prices on Saturday.

After 11:59 p.m., the state will start collecting the 36 cents per gallon tax again, which means gas prices will rise on Sunday.

"Before they move it up, I'm going to fill up," Joseph Cabell of Westminster said.

Mark Baker of Bolton Hill told WJZ that he, too, was bracing for the price hike.

"I am here to fill up before the gas prices go higher," Baker said.

The AAA reported on Saturday that the average gas price in the state was $3.69.

But the end of the tax holiday means that prices will once again jump above $4.

"No, I'm not happy about the gas going up," Linda Davis of Federal Hill told WJZ.

State lawmakers paused the collection of the tax in March in response to soaring gas prices associated with the war Russia is waging in Ukraine.

But it was only set to stay in effect for 30 days.

Some called for a longer period of reprieve.

"It was perfectly positioned to be 90 days, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot said.

The gas-tax funds the state's transportation trust fund to pay for road projects.

When the tax holiday bill was passed, it used the state's budget surplus to pay for the money that wasn't being collected. Some lawmakers like Peter Franchot said that Maryland could have had a longer tax holiday.

"We have the money," Franchot said. "We had a seven-and-a-half-billion-dollar surplus."

But House Democrats rejected the bill to extend the tax break last week.

"I'm surprised that the Democratic legislature did not vote to extend the gas tax," Baker said. "I'm really shocked by that."

Legislatures like House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke said extending the holiday would now impact the state's ability to pay for road projects.

"The issue is that's the money that pays for our roads and bridges," he said. "So if you don't have the gas tax in effect on time, you get more potholes." 

Luetke said because the state budget is passed, they can't use the surplus again for another tax holiday.

Some people say they're going to be cutting back on driving and other expenses once the gas prices go up again.

"I will be driving less," Davis said. "I'll be just going to the store, going to work."

The good news is that gas prices have recently begun to decrease. They hit an all-time high of $4.34 nationally back on March 11. Now, the average price is about $4.08.

But that doesn't change the approach that some people intend to take to the end of the gas-tax holiday.

"I'm probably going to do less activities out, spend less on entertainment, shopping. That kind of stuff," Baker said.

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