Gov. Brian Kemp extended the temporary suspension of the state sales tax on gasoline and other motor fuels Friday, citing a looming diesel fuel shortage.

Kemp signed two executive orders, one extending the gas tax suspension through Dec. 11 and the other extending a supply chain state of emergency.

The Republican governor blamed high prices at the pump on the Biden administration for failing to promote U.S. energy independence and depleting the nation’s strategic oil reserve to its lowest level since 1974.

“As another holiday season and a looming diesel shortage approach, Georgians are still facing record high inflation, growing costs at the grocery store just before Thanksgiving, and high prices at the pump as they prepare to travel to see family, all due to a complete failure of leadership in Washington,” Kemp said.

“While we can’t fix everything politicians have broken, our responsible approach to reopening our economy while prioritizing both lives and livelihoods allows us to deliver needed relief by continuing to suspend our state’s gas tax.”

Kemp also cited a recent decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) to cut oil production.

President Joe Biden has been aggressive in drawing down the strategic oil reserve as part of the administration’s strategy for reducing gasoline prices. He also has been tapping federal grant funds to help promote the production of electric vehicle batteries to boost EVs as an alternative to gasoline-powered cars and trucks.

While the war in Ukraine and the pandemic have significantly reduced the supply of diesel fuel, economists have said reports the U.S. is about to run out are exaggerated.

Since the temporary suspension of the gas tax was implemented, last March, the average price of gasoline in Georgia has remained one of the lowest in the nation. Currently, the Peach State has the lowest gas prices at $3.13 per gallon, according to AAA.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Dave Williams | Capitol Beat

Dave Williams is the Bureau Chief of Capitol Beat News Service.