Against a background of surging gasoline prices at the beginning of an election year, a group of Democratic lawmakers are calling for a suspension of the federal gas tax for the rest of 2022.
The Gas Prices Relief Act proposed by Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-HN) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) – both of whom are up for reelection in the fall – would suspend the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax until the beginning of 2023. The legislation would also empower the Treasury Department to monitor retail prices of gas to ensure that producers are passing the tax savings on to consumers. And it would require the Treasury to maintain the integrity of the federal Highway Trust Fund by covering the lost gas tax revenues with general tax revenues.
“People are feeling a real pinch on everyday goods, and we must do more to help address rising costs, particularly the price of gas,” Hassan said in a statement.
Several Democrats – including Sens. Debbie Stabenow (MI), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Jacky Rosen (NV) and Raphael Warnock (GA) – have signed on as cosponsors of the bill. In the House, Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA) expressed support for the legislation.
The nationwide price of a gallon of gas is now $3.45, about a dollar more than it was a year ago, according to AAA. A recovering economy and the threat of war in Ukraine are expected to keep upward pressure on gas prices, at least in the near term.