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While drivers are happy, truckers feel left out of possible gas tax holiday extension

The current holiday cuts the state’s 25-cent gas tax from April to June and excludes diesel fuel. The proposal would extend that through November.

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — A proposal to extend Connecticut’s gas tax holiday is getting support from politicians on both sides of the aisle.

The state’s 25-cent gas excise tax is cut from April 1. to June 30. This was passed in both the House and Senate and signed by the governor in March as prices for fuel increased due to the war in Ukraine.

The proposal would extend the holiday another five months through November.

“As you know, I've expressed concern over time that we also have additional expenses out of the transportation fund. With the federal money, infrastructure money coming in, we got to be able to pay our share. I think we have the reserves necessary to do that,” Gov. Ned Lamont said Wednesday.

Drivers shared with FOX61 that they like the idea of additional relief at the pump especially as gas prices increase again.

RELATED: Drivers see uptick in gas prices

“I wish honestly it was a little more than 25-cents. I miss back when it was around two dollars,” said Haweya Dirir of West Hartford. “I am all for it. I wish it was longer.”

Elana Plenby said the savings help commuters like her save money getting to and from work.

“My thoughts are absolutely I would appreciate it very much,” said Plenby. 

RELATED: Complaints sent to attorney general's office of suspected price gouging at gas stations

Similar messages from Trevor Coscia of Torrington said the increased prices are no help to the wallet. He said any savings is great.

Republicans and Democrats agree more relief is needed. 

In a statement to FOX61, Democratic Senator Martin Looney of New Haven said, “The gas tax holiday provided Connecticut drivers with genuine relief from the Putin Price Hike. This tax break was a benefit for middle and working-class families and I believe it is important to continue the 25 cents per gallon price cut through the summer and fall when gas prices may continue to remain high."

“Connecticut absolutely must extend the gas tax reduction, but Republicans believe it must be extended even further and expanded to diesel. Tax relief cannot stop there. CT Republicans proposed extending the gas tax cut through the end of the year, and also cutting the sales tax, cutting the income tax rate for working and middle-class families, and a long list of tax relief totaling over $1.2 billion. Inflation is crushing CT families now; they deserve far greater relief than Democrats are willing to give,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly of Stratford said in a statement.

"While I'm glad the gas tax cut extension Republicans proposed last week found its way into their budget proposal, that they've continued to ignore the far-reaching impact of the high price of diesel is bewilderin­g. It's a drag on the economy, affecting not only household budgets but the finances of businesses that provide the goods and services we depend on. We've got a massive financial cushion in this state, yet Democrats in their backroom budget deliberations couldn't stomach the $38 million needed to provide a 20-cent cut to the per-gallon price of diesel through the end of the calendar year,” Republican Representative Vincent Candelora of North Branford said in a statement.

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Diesel fuel was not included because most trucks come from out-of-state and the purpose was to help in-state residents, the governor said. Truckers have felt left out that there has been no relief for them as prices go up.

“I’m glad it benefits the people who own cars because a lot of people have to go to work every day,” Mark Nixon, owner of Starks Express in East Hartford, said. “I thought that that would be great but I didn’t think they were going to include trucks. They don’t include trucks in the state.”

Credit: FOX61
The state gas tax holiday does not include diesel fuel and Starks Express owner Mark Nixon says truckers aren't getting any relief as prices increase again.

Nixon said the price of diesel is more than $5, a jump of more than 50%. He said it can cost around a thousand dollars to fill a tank and prices are still rising.

He said help would not only assist people like himself but even consumers. When the cost to transport items is up, the consumer pays more as well.

“I’d be nice if they could do something for the Connecticut truckers because it just gets passed on to the customer,” Nixon said. “We just have to pay it. And I’ve taken trucks off the road. I’m not hiring any drivers right now and I put four of my trucks up for sale. I just can’t make any money.”

The holiday is costing the state around $30 million a month. If extended another five months, that would cost $240 million. The legislature has to vote on it before the session ends on May 4.

Tony Black is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tblack@fox61.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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