Drivers paying more than ever before at the pump could possibly see gas prices dip a bit, as President Biden on Monday said he’s exploring a federal gas tax holiday.
“Yes, I’m considering it,” Biden told reporters about a potential gas tax holiday. “I hope to have a decision based on the data, I’m looking for by the end the week.”
The federal gas tax is 18 cents a gallon, so a gas tax holiday could save the average driver about $3 each fill up. The average price for regular is now $5 per gallon in Massachusetts, resulting in the average motorist paying more than $70 to fill up their tanks.
“It’s not going to be a huge relief for most people,” said Michael Klein, professor of international economics at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Klein also noted that gas tax revenue is earmarked for highways and bridges.
“We have huge infrastructure needs in the country, and that (a gas tax holiday) would be damaging to meeting those needs,” Klein said.
Biden’s comments about the gas tax on Monday come after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Sunday said a gas tax holiday is “certainly worth considering.”
“President Biden wants to do anything he possibly can to help consumers,” Yellen said on ABC’s “This Week.” “Gas prices have risen a great deal, and it’s clearly burdening households, so he stands ready to work with Congress.”
It remains to be seen how a federal gas tax holiday would affect demand, noted Mark Schieldrop of AAA Northeast.
“Overall, I still think the forces of supply and demand, and what’s going on with the economy will have the biggest impact on the long-term trend of gas prices,” he added.
Massachusetts State House leaders have continued to reject Republican proposals to temporarily suspend the state gas tax.
On Monday, a spokesperson for House Speaker Ronald Mariano’s office referred the Herald to recent comments he made regarding the lower chamber’s consideration of some form of targeted tax relief — but could not say if the speaker would reconsider suspending the gas tax now that the federal government may do the same.
Mariano has been fairly consistent in his answer to questions about a gas tax holiday, claiming that maneuver has only saved drivers in Connecticut 7 cents a gallon.
“I’m not going to cut the gas tax so that more money goes to big oil companies,” Mariano said Friday. “That’s not going to help you at the pump. There’s no guarantee that any tax cut on gas is reflected in a downward price at the pump.”
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