Proposed Gas Tax Hike in Peach State

Higher gas prices could be just up the road for Georgia drivers. State lawmakers have begun the long process of hiking the gas tax. Many drivers may actually support the hike. Gas prices in the Peach State are famous for being low, and a major reason for that is that at 12 cents per gallon, Georgia has the second lowest gas tax in the nation.

"I think its great because our prices here in Georgia are much lower than Florida or California, and so we don't really have anything to gripe about," says Egon Schartel.

But with a growing population and falling state revenues, state lawmakers have begun looking at hiking gas taxes anywhere from 6 to 10 cents per gallon.

Some drivers say they wouldn't mind a gas tax hike, as long as the voters approve it.

"I certainly think the gas prices are high enough as they are, but I do agree to keep our roads sage and something we're comfortable driving on, its something that might be a possibility, but I would like an opportunity to vote on it,” Fran Caraway says.

Local state representatives leaders realize that low gas prices are a factor in attracting visitors, so even if a tax hike is approved, they would still keep Georgia's prices lower than neighboring states.

"We won't make it so unattractive that people will forgo what they do now, and that is wait until they get to Georgia to fill up with gasoline," says Sate Rep. Ron Borders

And local drivers say any increase should not cause people to break from traveling around the Peach State. Georgia lawmakers will likely discuss the matter for the next year, waiting until after the 2004 elections to make any final decisions.