CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Drivers will pay more at the pump starting Friday as the final two-cent state gas tax increase goes into effect.
The increase raises South Carolina’s gas tax up to 28 cents per gallon.
Friday’s increase ends six years of two-cent increases, the revenue from which has gone toward improving the state’s roads. The increases were part of a ten-year plan funded through the 2017 SC Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act, which has funded more than $1 billion of road and bridge work in the state.
Dozens of those projects are in the Lowcountry, expanding I-26 near the merge in Charleston County as well as in Berkeley County near Nexton Parkway.
But gas taxes, both state and federal, have become hot-button issues as gas prices remain high. In June, South Carolina posted the highest-recorded gas prices in its history, according to AAA.
As of Friday morning, AAA said the state’s average price per gallon was $4.36. The average price per gallon one year ago, AAA says, was $2.81.
Joe Cunningham, the Democratic candidate for governor, has publicly called for a temporary suspension of the state gas tax, saying Republican Gov. Henry McMaster has had months to provide a solution to lower gas prices, but nothing has changed.
“Folks need relief, and we need a leader, we need a governor, who is going to come up with ideas,” Cunningham said.
In a statement, McMaster spokesman Brian Symmes said the governor “vetoed the gas tax bill in 2017 because he didn’t think it was necessary then and he doesn’t think it’s necessary now. But the fact of the matter is that South Carolinians are hurting at the gas pump because of President Biden’s disastrous policies that have left Americans dependent in foreign energy producers.”
Symmes clarified that a suspension of the gas tax would require additional legislation to be passed by the General Assembly and that, unlike some other states, the governor doesn’t have the authority to suspend state law by himself.
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