Nikki Fried Calls on Gov. DeSantis To Take Action on Gas Prices Now, As Average Price Reaches High of $4.49 per Gallon

Toby Hazlewood

Floridians need help now

When Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis announced a number of sales tax holidays earlier in May, it was notable that the one that most needed - a sales tax holiday on gasoline - wasn't coming into effect until October. The timing appears to be linked to the forthcoming gubernatorial election, presumably as a means of winning favor with voters.

Meanwhile, the price of gas in the state continues to soar, having exceeded $4.47 per gallon on average only last week, it's now over $4.49 per gallon.

On May 19, Florida's Agriculture Commissioner and Democratic challenger for governor, Nikki Fried tried to intervene. She wrote to the governor requesting that he brings forward the cuts and help Floridians now.

Fried's intervention and her suggestion that the governor should intervene now with a state of emergency that would allow gas prices to be lowered by emergency order. Whether it will result in any action from the governor, or whether it's perceived as a political act on her part, just as the timing of sales tax cuts seems to be politically motivated for the governor, remains to be seen.

"Floridians can't afford Florida anymore"

The cost of gas compounded by inflation and the rising cost of living, many motorists in Florida are struggling now. The situation is serious enough that in early May, Nikki Fried appeared on Fox News to state that "Floridians can't afford Florida anymore".

Her point referenced the compounding factors of increased rent and property prices, rising prices and shortages on store shelves due to the ongoing supply chain crisis, and record levels of inflation that are pushing the cost of living out of the reach of the average Floridian.

The cost of gas is just one other way in which many are struggling to cope financially right now.

What could Fried do?

The cost of gas remains at record levels, even though the price of oil has dropped from its highs of $120 per barrel. At the same time, the world's largest oil corporations are reporting record profits as customers around the world pay top prices to run their cars.

In February, oil giant BP reported the highest levels of profit in 8-years - $12.8 billion net profit in 2021. Exxon reported profits of $5.8 billion in the first quarter of 2022.

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Man filling car with gasolineShutterstock

If the governor were to declare a state of emergency as Fried has suggested, she could enact an emergency order that allowed gas to be sold by retailers at below cost, temporarily easing the burden on drivers.

Whether Governor DeSantis will respond or not remains to be seen. In the end, it may come to the governor and his challengers using gas prices as a political bargaining tool rather than resolving it for Floridians.

Would you like to see Nikki Fried's plan put in action or do you believe it's just a political play to win favor amongst voters? Do you care if you could see cheaper gas prices at the pump? Let me know in the comments section below.

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