Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tedisco: Fight Pain At The Pump By Cutting Gas Tax,
Investing In Alternative Energy
AAA Report shows New York is 4th in U.S. for highest gas prices

With gas prices in New York State at an average of $3.18 per gallon and rising, Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today renewed his call for short-term and long-term relief for motorists. Tedisco's plan would cut gas taxes, promote alternative fuels and vehicles and speed the availability of ethanol fuel (E-85) at the 27 Thruway Service Stations across the state.

A year ago, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $2.37. New York State now has the 4th highest gas prices in the nation, according to AAA.

"I've been talking about easing the burden of high gas prices for some time and just as it seems gas prices were on the decline, motorists are being hit with increases that seem to have no end in sight," said Tedisco. "Consumers are being treated like 'yo-yos' with these up and down gas price shocks. It's time that New York State take the lead in providing short term relief at the pump by cutting gas taxes and investing in a long term solution through green and clean alternative fuels."

New York consumers pay seven separate taxes on a gallon of gasoline. The federal tax rate is 18.4 cents and the state taxes account for 33 cents (local taxes are approximately 11 cents). This is much higher than neighboring states. Tedisco proposes reducing gas taxes to the point where they will be in line with the average northeast state tax rate. This would save motorists 12.5 cents per gallon right off the bat. Dedicated highway, bridge and transportation funds would be held harmless and be funded by the general fund.

Tedisco also is calling for the use of the remaining sales tax revenue on gasoline to create the "Alternative Fuel Incentive Fund." The fund would provide tax credits, grants, investments and other incentives to encourage ownership of hybrid and flex-fuel vehicles and the building of alternative fueling stations and refineries to expand the availability of these fuels in New York State. The fund would also invest in research and development of alternative fuels - especially cellulosic ethanol which uses straw, grass, corn stalks and other plant waste, as opposed to more expensive corn-based or sugar-based ethanol.

Tedisco said that accelerating the transition to alternative fuels would lower fuel costs through lessened demand for gasoline, as well as provide for a cleaner environment, more agricultural and manufacturing jobs with the production of the home-grown fuels, and greater national security through greater energy independence.

Tedisco again called for the 27 Thruway Service Stations to install E-85 fuel pumps. The Thruway Authority broke ground on an E-85 pump at the New Baltimore Travel Plaza in Greene County in 2006. It was scheduled to be open to motorists on October 1, 2006 with the other 26 stations soon to follow, but no station has yet opened. Tedisco called attention to the Thruway Authority's neglect of this resource close to six months ago but the E-85 pumps still remain dormant. There are nearly 200,000 vehicles in New York State that are flex-fuel vehicles (can accept gasoline or ethanol) and would be able to take advantage of E-85 if the Thruway stations opened.

"There is no single magic solution to instantly reduce gas prices, but these are options worth pursuing because nearly everyone's pocketbook has been affected by skyrocketing energy costs," said Tedisco. "I don't think our state's residents should be forced to continue to withstand these price shocks for much longer."

New York State Assembly
[ Welcome Page ] [ Minority Press Releases ]