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Study finds Maryland gas tax holiday did save customers money at the pump, but ultimately increased prices

"Gasoline prices in Maryland became higher than what they would have been if the gasoline tax holiday never occurred," researchers said - but not significantly.

MARYLAND, USA — Maryland's gas tax holiday may have scored drivers some savings after all, according to a study done by economists at the University of Pennsylvania.

The state was the first in the nation to pass the holiday, suspending its state tax of 36.1 cents per gallon on gas and 36.85 cents a gallon on diesel for nearly a month. Gas stations across the area were swarmed just before the state’s holiday finally came to an end in April.

But who does this benefit? 

The June study cited that, after the holiday was put in place on March 18, Maryland saw a decline in gas prices at the statistically significant 5% level from March 19 until April 18. 

"The decline also grew in magnitude from 12 cents the next day to a little below 30 cents from March 22 to April 16," the study says. 

However, there was a downside to the discount, researchers specified.

"After the gasoline tax holiday expired on April 17, gasoline prices in Maryland became higher than what they would have been if the gasoline tax holiday never occurred, although the difference was not statistically significant at the 5% significance level."

Credit: U Penn- Wharton

At the time, it was suspected the holiday led to savings. According to Patrick DeHaan, a spokesperson for GasBuddy.com, the price of gas in Maryland stayed well below the national average for over 30 days.

"We find that the suspension of the state gasoline tax in Maryland reduced prices faced by consumers by 26 cents on average over the course of the gasoline tax holiday, which implies that 72 percent of the tax decrease passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices," the study said. 

However, the holiday came to an end in April, when Maryland’s Democratically controlled House of Delegates voted against a Republican amendment to extend it. 

RELATED: Gas price in Maryland expected to increase 36 cents Sunday as tax holiday set to end

Maryland gas prices also raised on July 1 due to legislation passed in 2013 that indicates that the gas tax must be increased based on the Consumer Price Index. 

Ahead of the increase, drivers could expect to pay seven cents more per gallon. At the time, the gas tax went from 36 cents to 43 cents. 

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continue calling for the General Assembly to convene a special session to approve another gas tax holiday.

RELATED: Automatic gas tax increases take effect in Maryland, Virginia

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