HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Many people are paying more money at the gas pumps to fill up their gas tanks, and relief may be on its way.
“So before the price hikes, gas was, it was costing me about $42 to $47 to fill up and now I’m right around $110 to fill up,” said South Carolina driver Steven Benton.
Professor of Economics at Coastal Carolina University, Yoav Wachsman, said the war in Ukraine, labor shortages, supply chain issues and increased travel since the pandemic are all contributing to the higher gas prices.
“So, we see both demand and supply issues driving up the price of gasoline,” Wachsman said.
Wachsman said economists do not expect a major effect on the economy with the tax holiday, but some will feel it more than others.
“Like any tax, poor people will be affected more in a positive way by the tax relief, obviously people who drive more and, in our case, as a tourist destination, as a driving destination, this tax relief will have a bigger impact on us in Horry County than most places in the United States,” he said.
President Joe Biden’s proposed gas tax holiday would suspend the 18 cent federal tax on gasoline and the 24 cent federal tax on diesel. Wachsman said Biden’s proposed federal gas tax cut could be good for South Carolinians because the state has some of the cheapest gas in the country, which means the proposed cuts would be a larger percent decrease in prices.
“For Horry County, specifically, the taxes can actually have a major impact because we’re a tourist destination and we’re predominantly a driving destination,” he said. “So, it may lead some individuals who are coming in from the northeast or from other locations to decide to come here because the tax is a little bit cheaper.”
This was actually happening for a North Carolina traveler, Andrew Nemeth, who was in Myrtle Beach vacationing with his family this week.
“Especially North Carolina, we’re seeing an upwards of about $5, so whenever we came down here and saw it’s $4.30, $4.40, even that is substantially different from back home,” Nemeth said. “So we’re actually trying to fill up here right now, that’s why we’re here, so we can avoid having to pay more.”
Some drivers do not see an end in sight to the high prices even if the federal gas tax holiday happens.
“Even with them taking the gas tax off you’re talking 20 cents when we’re up how many dollars now?” Benton said. “I always want to think positive but you never know.”
“I’m really hoping that the tax holiday proposal will alleviate some of it, but I don’t think until after November based on how the midterms turn out we won’t see really anything that will actually drastically change,” Nemeth said.
News13 reached out to Governor Henry McMaster’s office to see if South Carolina would follow President Biden’s proposal and the office had no statements on the subject to give at this time.