By Alice Seeley  

On June 22, President Joe Biden asked Congress to pass a three-month suspension through September of the federal gasoline tax without taking away any money from the Highway Trust Fund, which receives funds from the tax revenue. President Biden urged Congress to provide relief for Americans as gas prices skyrocket to $5 per gallon across the country.   

President Biden also urged states to take action to provide relief by suspending state gas taxes, which are often higher than federal rates, or helping consumers in other ways. The average state gas tax is 29 cents, with California having the most expensive tax and Alaska the cheapest. A few states, such as Maryland, New York, and Connecticut, already suspended their state gas tax earlier this year.   

This suspension of the tax, which charges 18 cents per gallon of gas and 24 cents per gallon of diesel fuel, will “bring down the price of gas and give families just a little bit of relief,” President Biden stated in a White House address.   

The White House predicted consumers would save at least $1 per gallon if state and federal gas taxes were suspended.  

However, this suspension will cost the government nearly $10 billion. A White House official said with the federal government’s deficit down $1.6 trillion this year it can afford this loss.   

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, disagreed, saying the federal gas tax holiday will provide “minuscule relief while blowing a budget hole in a Highway Trust Fund needed to fix crumbling bridges and build a modern infrastructure system.”   

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget warned that the gas tax suspension could increase demand for gas and other goods and services “at a time when the economy has little capacity to absorb it,” which could result in “even higher rates of inflation in 2023.”