State leaders tout different plans to lower gas prices in FL; Fried issues an emergency rule

By: - May 11, 2022 1:39 pm

Gas station. Credit: Getty Images, Joe Raedle

State officials are taking different approaches to helping Floridians save money at the gas pump, as rising costs of fuel for drivers and inflationary issues appear to be a major campaign issue during the election season.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Wednesday touted her initiative to immediately allow the sale of a cheaper type of gasoline aimed to help drive down prices at the gas pump and increase the supply. Both Gov. Ron DeSantis and Fried have been unveiling their respective initiatives to help Florida families save money on gas, as the midterm election draws closer.

Fried, a 2022 gubernatorial candidate, said residents are now able to save money by using what’s called E15 gas, which contains 15 percent denatured anhydrous ethanol.

“That specific gas will be 10 cent lower than what is potentially at the pump,” Fried said during a Wednesday press conference in Tampa. “Gas prices have been rising, as a result of Russia’s war on Ukraine and continued supply chain issues caused by the global pandemic.”

Earlier this week, Fried had announced that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) had issued an emergency rule allowing the E15 gas, outside of the traditional fuel season.

At the press event, Fried said her agency issued the rule “to help increase our state’s supply of gasoline products” and allow an “affordable supply of gas.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), E15 is allowed “for use in light-duty conventional vehicles of model year 2001 and newer.”

Meanwhile, DeSantis took another approach last week to lower the rising costs of gas in Florida and around the nation, announcing the suspension of the state gas tax that will take place a month before the November elections.

Caroline Korba, press secretary for Nikki Fried, argued that “DeSantis has the ability to give Floridians a gas tax break now, but he is conveniently waiting until October to provide this relief to the people of our state – a month before the general election.”

“Commissioner Fried took immediate action by issuing an emergency rule allowing the sale of E15 gas in Florida, which will increase supply and lower costs at the gas pump,” Korba said in an email to the Florida Phoenix.

On Friday, the Republican governor signed into law a bill passed by the Florida Legislature in the 2022 session that will offer sales tax holidays for several items, such as fuel, diapers, disaster supplies and more.

The state will see a one-month Fuel Tax Holiday from October 1, through October 31, 2022,” according to a press release from the governor’s office. That would lower the price of gas by 25.3 cents per gallon, DeSantis said.

“In Florida, we are going to support our residents and help them afford the goods that they need,” DeSantis said in a written statement. “Florida has been fiscally responsible, so we are in a good position to provide meaningful relief for families, right now.”

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.