By Jovonne Ledet
With the national average landing at just under five dollars per gallon, Biden will urge lawmakers on Wednesday (June 22) to pass a gas tax holiday that would run for the next three months. The federal government currently charges consumers 18.4 cents per gallon of regular gas and a 24.4-cent tax per gallon of diesel.
The gas tax holiday would almost immediately lower the cost of gas, but potentially make prices higher in the future as the supply-demand chain could become even more imbalanced, experts say.
Suspending the federal tax would cost the White House $10 billion, which experts warn could cut funds for the maintenance of roads and highways.
“As a motorist, I’ll take any price reduction I can get,” energy analyst Patrick De Haan said. “As an analyst, I think it could exacerbate imbalances that could lead to higher prices.”
The federal gas tax started in 1932 at 1 cent per gallon and reached its current cost of over 18 cents in 1993. The added cost for drivers at the pump goes to the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for the maintenance of highways, roads, and bridges.
The federally-imposed tax has yet to be suspended since its inception. Biden’s proposal of a gas tax holiday, which will call for a suspension through September, would have to successfully pass through Congress and be signed into law by the president.
According to the White House, Biden will also urge states on Wednesday to suspend their gas taxes to give added relief to drivers at the pump.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a statement after Biden called for a temporary pause of the federal gas tax.
In March, Governor Whitmer sent a letter to Congress calling on the federal government to pass the Gas Prices Relief Act to suspend the federal gas tax, and on Tuesday she urged President Biden to support a federal gas tax holiday and work with Congress to get this done. She has also called for a temporary suspension of the state sales tax on gas, which would save drivers nearly 50 cents a gallon when combined with a temporary pause of the federal gas tax.
“Americans are feeling the pain at the pump with gas reaching $5 a gallon this month, so I am glad that President Biden is calling for a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax. If we suspend the Michigan sales tax on gas and also get this done, we can save families nearly 50 cents a gallon right now,” Whitmer said. “Here in Michigan, I am focused on providing even more relief to families by putting more money in their pockets as they face rising prices on everything from gas, groceries, and everyday expenses. In March, I called for a temporary suspension of the state sales tax on gas, and last month, I proposed MI Tax Rebate Right Now, a plan to send $500 to Michigan’s working families right away. I will work across the aisle with the Michigan Legislature and use every tool at my disposal to ensure working families can pay the bills and put food on the table.
“The American people are counting on all of us to provide real relief right now so they can pay the bills and put food on the table. I am confident that President Biden and Congress can work together to temporarily pause the federal gas tax, and in Michigan, I will continue finding creative ways to put money back in people’s pockets.”
Michigan Chronicle Staff Writer Sherri Kolade contributed to this report.
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