Joe Biden calls on Congress to suspend the tax on auto fuel. White House, June 22, 2022 Biden called on Congress to suspend the gasoline tax
Many lawmakers, including Democrats, do not support the idea put forward by the president
President Joe Biden called on Wednesday for a three-month suspension of the federal gasoline tax to combat record fuel price increases, but many lawmakers, including those in the Democratic Party, suggest that the requirement may never be met.
American families who have begun to pay much more for gasoline deserve some financial assistance, Biden said, calling on Congress to act, while noting that one suspension of the tax of 18.4 cents per gallon is not enough.
“I fully understand that tax holidays alone will not solve the problem, but they will bring immediate relief to families, just a little respite, as we continue to work on reducing prices in the long term,” Biden said.
The president also called on states to temporarily suspend fuel taxes, which are often higher than the federal rate.
He also asked major oil companies to come up with ideas on how to restore idle refineries during an upcoming meeting with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholme. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday.
The administration says the fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and oil companies' sky-high profits from rising gasoline demand are the main reasons for high gasoline prices, the administration says. The heads of several oil companies said the Biden administration is unfairly blaming the industry for rising prices.
Some economists say a gas tax holiday is unlikely to lower headline inflation and could hurt Biden's clean energy and infrastructure initiatives.
Removal of the federal 18.4 cents per gallon gasoline tax and the tax for diesel at 24.4 cents would require congressional approval.
Legislators from both parties expressed opposition to the suspension of the tax. Some Democrats, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, are worried that oil companies and retailers could embezzle most of the savings.
Biden asked Congress to suspend the fuel tax until September to lower prices during summer driving season in the USA. The move will cost the Highway Trust about $10 billion in lost revenue, but could be offset by other budget lines as tax revenues rise and the pandemic narrows the deficit.
“All those Republicans in Congress who today criticize me for high gasoline prices in America: are you now saying that we were wrong when we supported Ukraine? Are you saying we were wrong to oppose Putin? Are you saying we're better off having lower gas prices in America and Europe under Putin's iron fists? I don't think so,” Biden said, addressing GOP officials blaming his administration for rising fuel prices ahead of the midterm congressional elections.