Up for re-election, Gov. Ron DeSantis pushes gas tax relief plan

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday he will ask lawmakers to completely cut state gas taxes.

MIAMI, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking lawmakers for relief in the form of a state gas tax holiday suspending the state’s portion of the gas tax for maybe up to 6 months, but there are still a lot of details left to work out.

Up for re-election in 2022, DeSantis’ Democratic opponents for governor, Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried, broached the idea a couple of weeks ago, but it is lawmakers that would have to make any kind of decision on a tax holiday and they don’t go into session until January.

“We want to see over $1 billion of gas tax relief for Florida motorists and families,” DeSantis said during a press conference Monday in Daytona Beach.

The governor added the idea for a state gas tax holiday to his daily governing/re-election campaigning. Meanwhile, Florida’s governor never misses a chance to diss the Biden administration, too. On Monday, however, his linking inflation with gas prices deserved a fact check.

“The White House was saying that this wasn’t real inflation; that this wouldn’t happen and now we’re seeing it’s real. They are the ones who are driving this,” DeSantis said.

[RELATED: Florida gas prices spike as Thanksgiving nears]

But the rise in gas prices in this pandemic recovering economy has been, and still is, a function of supply and demand according to those who track them. The crude production that leveled off when people stayed home has not yet caught up to the demand of those now out and traveling

“On a global scale, there is just not as much supply as there is demand for it and that’s what’s driving the oil prices much higher than they have been recently,” said Mark Jenkins with Florida’s AAA Auto Club Group.

A graph from the U.S. Energy Administration shows the fluctuations over the last 15 years with the highest at more than $4 a gallon and the lowest just over $1. Those prices were both during Republican George W. Bush’s administration.

The timing now, though, is most definitely an opportunity for Florida’s governor to broach an election year fix.

There may be relief for drivers, however, in the not so distant future. Prices may well be coming down in the next week or two. According to AAA, crude oil prices are at their lowest point in the last three to four weeks and gas prices typically follow.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."