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New York temperatures, rents, and gas prices — all on the rise with little end in sight. But at least in one case, things may change, as Governor Hochul announced a reduction in gas tax collection through the end of the year. 

Gas prices powered through the $7 mark on 11th Avenue this week, despite the tax cut. Photo: Phil O’Brien

 “Fuel prices have surged in recent months, hurting working families and small businesses the most, and it is crucial that we provide New Yorkers relief,” Governor Hochul said in a press release on Wednesday. “By suspending certain fuel taxes for the next seven months, New York is providing some $609 million in direct relief to New Yorkers — a critical lifeline for those who need it most. At a time when families are struggling because of economic headwinds and inflation, we will continue to take bold action to reduce the economic burden on New Yorkers and get money back in their pockets.”

State sales tax, motor fuel tax, and metropolitan commuter transportation sales tax will remain suspended through December, saving drivers at least $0.16 per gallon across the state. Some counties took it the extra mile, capping the taxes at the first $2 collected in Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe, Putnam, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Ulster, Wayne and Yates counties and at the first $3 collected in Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Jefferson, Livingston, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Suffolk and Westchester counties. 

Governor Kathy Hochul is keeping her eye on New York’s gas prices. Photo: Governor’s Office

NYC counties (Manhattan, Kings, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island) had, as of this publication, not enacted additional tax caps. Back on the corner of 11th Avenue and W51st Street, there didn’t appear to be much of a discernible difference post-announcement, as prices clocked in over $7 per gallon on Thursday — far above the national average of $4.71 per gallon and statewide average of $4.93 per gallon, according to AAA

Prices skyrocketed after Congress voted to ban imports of Russian oil, in reaction to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian oil accounts for 8 percent of the US’s foreign supply. In an effort to obtain replacement fuel, President Biden even seemed willing to look past major disputes with other nations, including Saudi Arabia — where it was announced on Thursday that the President planned to visit. Biden had previously declared the country a “pariah” due to its government’s assasination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Back in the US, experts noted that despite the Governor’s proclamation, price changes would take some time to come into effect. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy told CBS News: “Everyone’s expecting that the action immediately pushes prices down, but there’s a lot of complications where that may not be the case — but they are probably preventing oil prices from exploding or going up even more dramatically.” 

Back in 2009, when the maximum price of gas (even at the 11th Avenue station) was $2.89. Photo: Google Street View.

Looks like it may be time to plan your upstate vacations via the MetroNorth, bicycling, or perhaps by rollerblading to Canada. Beats paying at the pump! 

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