As Florida prices soar, DeSantis proposes $1B in gas tax relief

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – As Florida’s gas prices soar ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday said he is proposing over $1 billion in gas tax relief in an effort to help lower gas prices in the state.

“The average family over a five or six month period, you know, could save up to $200,” DeSantis said during a news conference at a Daytona Beach Buc-ee’s. “There’s a whole bunch of things that go into the price of gas. There’s different taxes, federal, state, local level, we’re taking over 25 cents from Florida and we will basically zero that out for as long as we can and do over a billion dollars. That’s going to make a huge, huge deal.”

Millions of Floridians are expected to hit the road this week and when they do, they’ll be paying the most expensive Thanksgiving gas prices in eight years. Florida’s average per-gallon price stands at $3.36, the highest mark since $3.45 in 2013, according to AAA.

The Republican governor said he’s confident that the tax breaks will translate into lower prices at the pump if the proposal is passed by the legislature.

“We talked at Racetrack, we talked to Daily’s, Gate, a bunch of them throughout the state of Florida, and they all said yes, absolutely [we will lower prices]. And I think the reason is it makes financial sense for them because they make a lot of money when people come into their store and buy things,” DeSantis said.

The high gas prices have made things a struggle for people like Nichole Pryzybylski, a Jacksonville mother who says she’s been struggling to find a job.

“It’s hard, especially with kids, you know, driving to school, driving them back. There’s things you have to drive for. It’s not like we’re out joyriding,” Pryzybylski said.

Marcus Crooms, who also lives in Jacksonville, is used to spending quite a bit on gas.

“I have a lawn company so honestly I’m at the gas station every day,” he said. “Yeah, every day.”

Recent data is linking the rise in gas prices to:

  • More Americans on the road
  • The reopening of the economy
  • Limited supply due to wide range of factors

Following the announcement, Charlie Crist, a Democrat and candidate for governor, criticized DeSantis, saying he is “continuing to put off taking any real action to freeze Florida’s state gas tax and save working families money at the pump as the holiday season begins.”

Last week, Crist said Florida should consider a temporary gas tax break as a safeguard against potential inflation.

Crist said instead of taking action, DeSantis is choosing instead to “kick the can down the road, calling for the legislature to meet on the issue next year instead of right now as gas prices are at an all-time high across the state.”

“Governor DeSantis is a day late and a dollar short,” Crist said in a statement. “Last week’s not-so-special session should have addressed this issue instead of focusing on making COVID easier to spread. As a result, in the best case Floridians will be waiting months for any reduction in gas taxes.”

About the Authors:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.