President Joe Biden is calling on Congress and states to take additional legislative action to provide direct relief to American consumers struggling with soaring gas prices.
Specifically, he is asking Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for three months. And he is calling on states to take similar action to provide some direct relief, whether pausing their gas taxes or helping consumers in other ways.
Currently, the federal government taxes gasoline at 18 cents per gallon. Federal gas tax revenue funds critical highways and public transportation through the Highway Trust Fund.
But, with gas prices near $5 a gallon on average across the country, President Biden is urging Congress to suspend the gas tax until the end of September — while using other revenues to make the Highway Trust Fund whole for the estimated cost of $10 billion.
Maryland taxes gasoline at 36 cents per gallon, but the rate is due for an automatic, inflation-driven increase to 42 cents per gallon on July 1.
President Biden’s proposal faces steep headwinds in Congress, with both Democrats and Republicans alike expressing concerns over the proposal. In Annapolis, Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones rejected calls to convene a special session to address fuel taxes.
“The Maryland General Assembly already did exactly what President Biden is proposing at the federal level: implemented a temporary pause on the State gas tax while backfilling our Transportation Trust Fund to ensure maintenance of our roads and bridges,” wrote the Presiding Officers in a joint statement.
“States cannot unilaterally bear the burden of increased gas prices driven in part by Putin’s aggression in Ukraine and in part by the corporate greed of oil companies bringing in record profits.”
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