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lands in Alaska. Sen. Greg Dolezal, RCumming, said gas prices started rising well before Russian troops entered Ukraine three weeks ago.

“Gas prices were up last year by $1 a gallon,” he said. But Senate Democrats said the oil industry is to blame for holding down oil production in the U.S., not the Biden administration. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm called on the industry last week to step up production of oil and gas. “The administration only has control over drilling on federal lands,” said Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta. “It’s the fossil-fuel industry’s decision not to drill. … There are permits oil companies have that they’re not accessing … because it’s not cost-effective. They’re making decisions on the expectation that demand for fossil fuels will decrease.”

Hufstetler said temporarily suspending the gas tax will cost the state an estimated $300 million to $400 million in lost revenue. That gap will be covered by reserve funds, he said.

The suspension will expire May 31. Kemp could extend it after that by executive order if he deems it necessary.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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