Gas Tax Holiday 'Isn't Going to Happen'

'And it wouldn't help a ton even if it did'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2022 3:11 PM CDT
Gas Tax Holiday Would Foil Biden's Own Goals
Cars line up at a Shell gas station in Miami on Friday.   (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)

(Newser) – President Biden formally asked Congress for a three-month national gas tax holiday as expected Wednesday, though Politico's Anthony Adragna doesn't expect there to be any change at the pumps. "This oft-repeated idea simply isn't going to happen—and wouldn't help a ton even if it did," he writes. The Penn Wharton Budget Model estimates that suspending the 18.4-cents-per-gallon federal gas tax for 10 months "would lower average gasoline spending per capita between $16 and $47, depending on geographic location and assumptions." At the same time, the government would lose about $20 billion in tax revenue, which funds infrastructure like roads.

"It will blow a multi-billion-dollar hole in the highway trust fund, putting funding for future infrastructure projects at risk," House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio tells the Hill. And he's not the only Democrat voicing concerns, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer joining in, even as Biden denied Tuesday that there would be "an impact on major road construction and major repairs." Republicans are wary, too. Biden should "actually focus on on unleashing American energy and technological innovation that will meet our energy needs and bring down gas prices," says Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Indeed, a gas tax holiday "would do nothing to fix the supply shock driving up prices," as Matt Egan writes at CNN. It would also "effectively encourage the use of gasoline … underlining the adage that the best cure for high prices is high prices" and "running counter to the Biden administration's ambitious climate goals that call for moving away from fossil fuels." And when the time comes to end the gas tax holiday, drivers will not be happy, Egan writes. "That raises the specter of a temporary gas tax suspension morphing into a permanent holiday." An administration official instead paints the proposal as allowing families "a little breathing room," per Politico. But this "alone won't fix the problem." (Read more gas prices stories.)

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