WASHINGTON — President Biden is calling on Congress to suspend the federal gasoline tax for three months, through September, without taking money from the Highway Trust Fund. The president is also calling on states to take similar action to provide some direct relief, whether suspending their own gas taxes or helping consumers in other ways.
Currently, the federal government charges an 18-cent tax per gallon of gasoline and a 24-cent tax per gallon of diesel; however, as gas prices hover around $5 a gallon on average nationally, the president is temporarily shifting priorities to lessen the amount consumers must spend at the pump.
The price of oil has jumped due to escalations stemming from the Russian war on Ukraine, as countries choke off Russian oil supply via sanctions, pushing supply down at a time of rising demand. In addition, U.S. refining capacity has fallen by some 1 million barrels per day over the last three years.
Earlier this week, the nation’s average gas price declined by 4.2 cents to $4.97 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. The national average is up 37.3 cents from a month ago and $1.92 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 2.6 cents in the last week and stands at $5.80 per gallon.
“I’m hopeful the trend may continue this week, especially as concerns appear to be mounting that we may be on the cusp of an economic slowdown, putting downward pressure on oil. But the coast isn’t yet entirely clear. We could see the national average fall another 15 to 30 cents, if we’re lucky, by the time fireworks are flying, barring any unexpected shutdowns at a time when the market is extremely sensitive to such,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at Boston-based GasBuddy.
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