(The Center Square) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on states and Congress to implement a temporary federal gas tax exemption because the national average price per gallon is about $5 per gallon. Critics say the government needs to relax US oil and gas drilling regulations
Biden asked lawmakers in Washington, DC to suspend the state gas tax, currently 18.4 cents a gallon, for 90 days “during the busy summer season.”
“It’s important because we use it for the Highway Trust Fund to keep our highways running, but what I’m proposing is suspending the federal gas tax without affecting the Highway Trust Fund, and that’s how we’re doing it,” he said biden “With increasing revenues this year and lower deficits of over $1.6 trillion this year alone, we’ll still be able to fix our freeways and lower gas prices.”
Biden’s deficit reduction comes on the back of a drop in COVID-era spending bills passed when he took office, which has helped fuel the current inflationary crisis, with the cost of almost everything rising by 40-year highs.
Katie Tubb, research fellow on energy and environmental issues at The Heritage Foundation, said suspending the federal gas tax is not really a solution.
“Americans need relief from historic gas prices, but President Biden’s latest gimmick won’t provide it,” Tubb said. “Gas is nearly $3 a gallon more expensive today than it was when Joe Biden took office, and his latest ‘fix’ is 18 cents temporarily to lower prices. As taxes fundamentally raise the cost of all goods, struggling Americans intuitively see the move for the dubious response it is.
Tubb said the Biden administration’s policies in the oil and gas industry will only push prices higher.
“The state gas tax accounts for less than 4% of prices at the pump, and those prices are only going up,” she said. Energy policies would increase gasoline prices by more than $2 a gallon every year between 2024 and 2040.
Biden also on Wednesday asked states to suspend their state gas taxes, which average 30 cents a gallon. Some states have already suspended their taxes.
Biden also urged oil companies to cut profits to lower prices as well.
Earlier this month, the national median price of a gallon of regular gasoline topped $5 before falling just below that mark. It’s currently at $4.96 a gallon, while diesel gas, which also hit record highs this month, is at $5.81. The federal tax on diesel is 24 cents per gallon.
“…We can bring the price of gas down and give families a little relief,” Biden said.
Biden’s critics have consistently pointed to his energy policies, particularly his work holding back drilling and pipeline development.
Biden responded to those criticisms in his speech on Wednesday, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that disrupted global oil markets. He also called for more refining of US oil, which has been slowing during the pandemic, and blamed gas stations for not cutting prices fast enough, even as oil prices have fallen recently.
“I fully understand that a gas tax holiday alone won’t solve the problem, but it will give families some immediate relief, just breathing room while we continue to work to bring prices down over the long term,” Biden said.
Biden also came under fire earlier this year for describing higher gas prices as part of a “transition,” fueling fears that this is the new normal and part of Biden’s green agenda.
This isn’t the president’s first attempt to lower gas prices through federal action. In March, Biden announced the release of 180 million barrels of oil over six months from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a tactic he had used earlier in his administration.
Biden’s critics called both that decision and the gas tax moves “gimmicks.”
“Just like when he started depleting our strategic oil reserves, delaying the gas tax will not lower prices and make America more vulnerable,” said US Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. “It’s time to face reality, stop offering gimmicks and blame Putin. This is President Biden’s price hike since day one of his presidency. President Biden needs to flip the switch on American energy and support legislation like the American Energy Independence from Russia Act.
“We must take action to unlock America’s energy by increasing natural gas production, resuming oil and gas leasing on state lands and waters, and protecting future energy and mineral development from Biden administration attacks,” she added.