BETHESDA, Md. - As gas prices skyrocket across the country, Maryland becomes the first state in the nation to offer some relief for drivers. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot are telling gas stations to stop charging the state tax on gas for the next 30 days. The suspension will save drivers nearly 37 cents per gallon as prices at the pump inch closer to five dollars.
FOX 5's Jacqueline Matter spoke with small gas station owners to find out how this slash in prices is affecting their businesses across the state.
"It hurts everybody and people think the higher prices are better for the owner, but that’s not the case," said Shoney Ponda, the owner of Exxon Rockville. "It’s pretty stressful, last week like I said we are having to keep up with it"
One problem for some smaller gas stations across the state is they’ve already paid tax on the gas they have in their tanks underground.
"It’s really causing more of a problem for us, you know the owners of the station, to be on top of everything," said Mario Bruno, the owner of Lake Liberty gas station in Chevy Chase.
Larger gas stations pay a price per gallon that already factors in state and federal taxes. Then, they add their fees to the pump price.
"They usually sell gas real cheap they make their profits in the stores and do extremely well," Bruno said.
In order to protect these small, locally owned gas stations lawmakers say they’ll be reimbursed for the already-paid tax on fuel shipments bought prior to the start of the 30-day suspension.
To claim that refund, a business must measure their fuel inventory when the tax holiday started and submit a form to the comptroller’s office.
FOX5 spoke to several franchise owners across the area, and they say while it is a bit of a headache every little bit helps.
"They really came through for Montgomery County and Maryland, absolutely, and I think every little bit helps for all of us," Ponda said.
"At the same token it might go back up, and we don’t want to look like we’re the ones making any money because we’re not," Bruno said.
The comptroller’s office says that any shipment between now and April 16th will qualify for that tax-free refund.
If the suspension is not extended, then gas station owners will have to pay taxes on what is left in their tanks.
It is worth noting the session is over in 30 day, so it remains to be seen how or if this suspension will be extended.