WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Wednesday will call on Congress to suspend federal gasoline and diesel taxes for three months — an election year move meant to ease financial pressures that was greeted with doubts by many lawmakers.
The Democratic president will also call on states to suspend their own gas taxes or provide similar relief, the White House said.
At issue is the 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal tax on gas and the 24.4 cents-a-gallon federal tax on diesel fuel. If the gas savings were fully passed along to consumers, people would save roughly 3.6% at the pump when prices are averaging about $5 a gallon nationwide.
It’s unclear, though, if Biden could push such a proposal through Congress, where many lawmakers, including some in his own party, have expressed reservations. And even many economists view the idea of a gas tax holiday with skepticism.
Barack Obama, during the 2008 presidential campaign, called the idea a “gimmick” that allowed politicians to “say that they did something.” He also warned that oil companies could offset the tax relief by increasing their prices.
Biden energy adviser Amos Hochstein pushed back on Wednesday, saying consumers could save about 50 cents per gallon if Congress and the states heed the president’s call and the oil industry doesn’t pocket the savings.
“That’s not a gimmick,” Hochstein, senior adviser for global energy security at the State Department, said on CNN. “That’s a little bit of breathing room for the American people as we get into the summer driving season.”
It was not immediately clear if the White House has the votes in Congress to suspend the federal tax.
It was not immediately clear if the White House has the votes in Congress to suspend the federal tax.[ad_2]