US President Biden comments on efforts to reduce high gas prices in the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building June 22, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
President Joe Biden called on Congress Wednesday to suspend the federal gas tax for 90 days as pump prices rise to record highs.
The federal tax currently stands at 18 cents for a gallon of regular gasoline, and 24 cents per gallon of diesel fuel.
“I urge businesses to pass this on – every penny of this 18-cent reduction – to the consumer,” Biden said Wednesday. “There is no time for profit now,” he said.
The president said such a move would not affect the Highway Trust Fund, saying other revenue could be used to fund the cost of about $ 10 billion.
Biden also called on states to suspend their gas taxes, or find other ways to bring some relief.
However, some were quick to note that withholding gas taxes will keep demand stable and not address the structural problems in the market.
Demand for petroleum products has returned as global economies reopened, while supply remained limited. A lack of refining technology has also sent prices higher.
“I fully understand that the gas tax holiday alone will not solve the problem. But it will provide families with some immediate relief. Just a little breathing as we continue to work to bring down prices for the long term,” Biden said.
Prices stand across the board with inflation at a 40-year high, but the increase in gasoline prices is particularly noticeable. The national average for a gallon tax above $ 5 for the first time on record earlier this month.
Biden called the price increase “Putin’s price increase.” He has also blamed oil and gas companies for what he calls prioritizing profits at the expense of consumers.
Last week, he sent a letter to the CEOs of the largest refining companies urging them to increase production. Industry executives say even if they want to boost operations, they cannot because of labor shortages and other problems.
,[M]y message is simple: for the companies that run gas stations and put those prices at the pump, this is a time of war … these are not normal times. “Lower the price you charge at the pump to reflect the cost you pay for the product,” he said.
Biden said these actions could lead to prices at the pump dropping by $ 1 per gallon or more. “It does not reduce any pain, but it will be a great help,” he said.
It remains to be seen whether Biden’s call with support will win on Capitol Hill.
“While well-intentioned, this policy would at best achieve only minor relief, while blowing a $ 10 billion hole in the Highway Trust Fund that would need to be completed if we were to continue repairing crumbling bridges,” tackle the peak in traffic fatalities, and build a modern infrastructure system, “said Rep. Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat and chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.