President Joe Biden said on Monday that he is proposing a federal gas tax holiday to help lower fuel prices as Americans continue to grapple with high inflation.
“I’m hoping to make a data-driven conclusion.” “By the end of the week,” the president said in Delaware to reporters, adding that he was “considering” the plan.
This would necessitate congressional action, and any reduction in the gas tax would decrease government revenue used to fund highways.
The current gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon, and suspending it would help cut the price at the pump, which was $4.98 per gallon on Monday on average throughout the country. Some places have even higher pricing, such as California, where the average gallon costs $6.39, according to AAA.
These prices are lower than the more than $5 a gallon average earlier this month, but they are still an unwelcome hike for millions of Americans who are struggling to keep up with rising rent and food costs.
To help stem the record prices, Biden ordered the release of millions of barrels of oil from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve earlier this year, and the government raised the amount of ethanol put into gasoline. However, these initiatives have had little effect on cost containment thus far.
The ongoing Russian war in Ukraine, according to the White House, is a major reason for the skyrocketing costs. However, Biden has chastised oil firms for failing to assist in offsetting costs, pointing out that such companies have made billions of dollars throughout the crisis.
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“I want an answer for why they aren’t refining more oil,” Biden remarked on Monday, just hours before members of his administration were scheduled to meet with CEOs of oil companies later this week.
It’s unknown how long a prospective gas tax vacation would continue, and several of the party’s top Democrats have previously expressed resistance to one. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has stated the subject isn’t off the table, but that it was just “good PR” in April, adding that there was “no guarantee” that the federal tax cut would be passed on to consumers.
Last week, the White House addressed letters to the country’s main oil firms, threatening to deploy emergency powers if they did not work to lower consumer costs. Fuel firms, on the other hand, appear unconcerned.
“Refinery profit margins considerably above average being pushed directly onto American households are not acceptable during a time of war,” the president wrote. “Your businesses must collaborate with my administration to develop concrete, near-term answers to the situation.”