U.S. President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he’s calling on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for the next 90 days.
“Here’s what that means – every time you go to the gas station to fill your tank, the federal government charges an 18-cent tax per gallon of gas that you purchase and a 24-cent tax per gallon of diesel you purchase,” Biden said in a speech at the White House, adding that it’s a tax that’s been around for 90 years.
“It’s important because we use it for the Highway Trust Fund to keep our highways going. But what I’m proposing is suspending the federal gas tax without affecting the Highway Trust Fund,” he added in the speech.
“And here’s how we do that – with the tax revenues up this year and our deficit down over $1.6 trillion this year alone, we’ll still be able to fix our highways and bring down prices of gas. We can do both at the same time. By suspending the 18-cent gas tax, federal gas tax, for the next 90 days, we can bring down the price of gas and give families just a little bit of relief,” Biden continued.
In the speech, Biden called on companies to pass every penny of the 18-cent reduction along to the consumers, stating that “there’s no time now for profiteering”. Biden also called on states to either suspend the state gas tax or find other ways to deliver some relief.
“State gas taxes average [another] 30 cents per gallon. Already, some states have acted,” Biden said.
“In Connecticut and New York, the governors have temporarily suspended their gas tax as well. In Illinois and Colorado, governors delayed theirs to give families a bit more breathing room as well. In Minnesota, Governor Walz proposes using state budget surpluses to give households a rebate that will help them pay for gas at the pump or other essential needs,” Biden added.
“I’m calling on more states and local governments to take actions like these,” Biden went on to say.
Biden also called on the industry to refine more oil into gasoline and to bring down gas prices.
“Last week, I sent a letter to the CEOs of the largest oil-refining companies asking them to work with my administration to bring refineries back online to get more gas to the pump at lower prices,” Biden said.
“The Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, and members of my team will be meeting with many of these refining companies tomorrow [Thursday] and I hope they’ll come up to the table with some real ideas and practical steps in the near term,” he added.
“And I’m prepared to act quickly and decisively on their recommendations if they make sense to address the immediate challenge in front of us and the American people,” Biden continued.
High Pump Prices a Global Problem
In a White House press briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, Granholm outlined that high pump prices are a global problem.
“There are two causes for it, which these high prices derive from,” Granholm said in the briefing.
“One is, of course, Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine … Russia is a very high exporter of oil. Because of the invasion of Ukraine, countries like the United States and Canada rightfully have said, ‘We are not going to take any Russian oil’, therefore, about a million barrels per day have been taken off the market as a result of that,” Granholm said.
“And secondly, the supply and refining capacity constraints that have been created by Covid-19 in the United States but also around the world,” Granholm added.
“Since Putin’s buildup of troops began, our citizens are paying an additional $2.00 per gallon. And, of course, other countries are dealing with this as well. If you went to the UK today [Wednesday], for a gallon equivalent, you would be paying $7.71. If you went to France, you’d be paying $8.49. If you went to Canada, you’d be paying over $6.00 per gallon. If you went to Singapore, you’d be paying over $9.00 per gallon,” Granholm continued.
According to the AAA gas prices website, the average price of regular gasoline in the U.S. is $4.94 per gallon on Thursday. The year ago average was $3.07 per gallon, and the highest average recorded was $5.01 per gallon on June 14, the AAA site shows.
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