US President Joe Biden will ask Congress on Wednesday to suspend the gasoline tax for three months, as skyrocketing gas prices infuriate Americans just months before critical midterm elections. The White House intends to suspend the 18-cent-per-gallon (3.78-liter) tax until September and will urge US states that tax at the pump to do the same in order to “provide immediate relief to American consumers who have been hit by Putin’s price hike,” according to a senior administration official.
According to the official, prices have risen by nearly $2 per gallon since Russian President Vladimir Putin started building up troops on the Ukrainian border earlier this year.
Federal gas and diesel taxes help fund the Highway Trust Fund, which retains roads and supports public transportation, but Biden will urge Congress to ensure that the fund is not harmed by the lost revenue.
“With our shortfall already down by an iconic $1.6 trillion this year, the president believes we can finance to cease the gas tax to help consumers while using other sales revenue to cover the roughly $10 billion cost,” the official said.
In response to growing public outrage over rising gas prices, several states, including New York and Connecticut, have already suspended fuel taxes, while others have postponed planned tax increases.
Biden has taken steps to ease the pain at the pump following Putin’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, which resulted in soaring fuel prices not only in the United States, but globally, exacerbating already-rising inflation.
These measures include going to release a million barrels of oil per day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, negotiating the discharge of another 60 million barrels from international partners, and increasing access to biofuels.
However, with average fuel prices across the country nearing $5 per gallon, the Biden administration is eager to alleviate consumers’ concerns about rising prices ahead of the November mid-term elections, which could result in the Democrats losing control of Congress.