Lawmakers responded to President Joe Biden’s call to suspend the gas tax with skepticism as the president tries to combat near record-high gas prices.
On Wednesday, Biden urged Congress to suspend the government’s gas tax for three months, which is 18 cents for regular gas and 24 cents for diesel. He also called on states to suspend their respective gas taxes. States, on average, charge a gas tax of 31 cents per gallon.
“When you look at the problems with high gas prices, we have a demand problem,” said Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. “And the proposal that you're hearing from the White House deals with the demand problem. We have a supply problem that needs to be dealt with.”
“I want to get more data on whether this kind of savings would actually be passed on to consumers,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, said. “ I've seen other states do this, but I don't think the data reflects that the consumers benefit. I understand people are hurting because of the high price of gas and the president's got to use all the tools in his toolkit.”
The senators’ comments show that Biden’s plan faces a lot of difficulty in order to be enacted.
The White House estimates that eliminating the gas tax would cause revenue for the Highway Trust Fund to drop by $10 billion. The Biden administration said due to a $1.6 trillion drop in the deficit, the government can afford to suspend the gas tax while using other revenues to make the Highway Trust Fund whole.
Biden urged the oil industry to pass on any savings to consumers.
"I'm doing my part. I want the Congress, the states, and the industry to do their part as well," he said.