A statement that caught many in the freight hauling industry by surprise, the American Trucking Associations issued a stinging rebuke to Pres. Joe Biden’s proposed fuel tax “holiday.”
“Today, I’m calling on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for the next 90 days, through the busy summer season, busy travel season,” Biden reportedly said. “I call on the companies to pass this along, every penny of this 18-cent reduction, to the consumers. There’s no time now for profiteering.”
The White House has been searching for a solution to record gasoline and diesel prices at the pump that drove 40-year-high inflation. While Pres. Biden has blamed fuel costs and inflation on the war between Russia and Ukraine, critics such as Karl Rove point out that White House policies played a significant role in spiking fuel costs.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board concurred, penning an Op-Ed called a “Gas Tax Holiday From Reality,” stating, “Now comes the feeblest effort so far — a White House request on Wednesday that Congress suspend the 18.4 cent a gallon federal gas tax for three months.”
The federal government levies a tax of 18.4 cents per gallon tax on gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon on truck diesel. If implemented, the reduction would save passenger vehicle drivers approximately 3.6 percent at the pump. Removing the diesel tax would no longer drop the price of diesel below $5 per gallon, as the national average topped $5.50 per gallon in May. Despite the savings on a 300-gallon fill-up, the American Trucking Associations issued a harsh rebuke.
“After months of touting the passage of the well-funded Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – a much-needed investment in our nation’s roads and bridges – the Biden Administration wants to cut that same highway system’s primary source of funding with a suspension of the federal fuel tax,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear reportedly stated.
“Here are three immediate things this Administration and Congress can do that will actually make a difference. Make America energy independent… stop kissing the ring of Saudi Arabia. Renew trade agreements with the European Union and Asian Pacific nations in order to export more American oil and natural gas. And, balance the budget… stop wasting hard-earned taxpayer dollars on senseless programs that drive up inflation and runaway deficits.”
“Energy independence, trade, and a balanced budget. Do that, and America wins,” Spear reportedly stated.
Congress appears reluctant to follow through with Biden’s policy initiative, and former Pres. Barack Obama once called gas tax holidays “gimmicks.” Connecticut suspended its gasoline tax but declined to eliminate a levy on diesel. The New England state plans to increase the diesel tax effective July 1.
But owner-operators may not see the elimination of federal taxes as a negative, even for three months. If passed along to truckers, that’s about $70 in savings every time they fill up.