BOSTON — We could soon be seeing some relief at the pump. President Biden has called for temporarily suspending the federal gas tax. Pumping the brakes on the federal tax would shave 18 cents off gas prices.
According to AAA, the current average for a gallon of gas went down a penny overnight in Massachusetts to $4.99 per gallon. That’s an improvement from a week ago when prices reached a record $5.05 a gallon. And a year ago, we were paying just $2.96 a gallon.
There has been a lot of talk about suspending the gas tax, and now the president is asking lawmakers to do just that. However, that’s the roadblock. It will need Congressional approval. President Biden wants to put a pause on the 18-cent tax, but there is significant opposition from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. One argument is that they want to see immediate relief without taking away money from infrastructure projects.
Biden is calling on state lawmakers to take action as well. There is currently a bill in the state senate that would suspend Massachusetts gas tax until Labor Day. Governor Baker and Republican state lawmakers have been pushing to pause it, and now it looks like the idea is gaining momentum with some Democrats, including Eric Lesser who is running for lieutenant governor.
With the current state average at $4.99 a gallon, taking off the 18-cent federal gas tax would bring the price down to $4.81 a gallon. If the state follows suit, that would shave off another 24 cents, resulting in $4.57 a gallon. For a 14-gallon tank, a driver would save $5.88.
Still, some of the opponent’s concerns are that the tax revenue would take away from road projects and it could also hurt the state’s bond rating. Connecticut and New York have suspended their gas tax, and gas costs are $4.93 and $5.00 respectively. That’s another concern for opponents. They are worried the savings will not be passed on to consumers.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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