Biden says decision on gas tax holiday could come this week


“I want an explanation of why they aren’t doing more oil refining.”

President Joe Biden talks to the media after walking on the beach with his granddaughter Natalie Biden, left, and his daughter Ashley Biden, right, Monday, June 20, 2022 in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo / Manuel Balce Seneta)
The Associated Press

Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden said Monday he would decide by the end of the week whether to order a holiday on the federal gasoline tax, potentially saving American consumers 18.4 cents a gallon.

“Yes, I’m considering it,” Biden told reporters after a walk on the beach near his vacation home in Delaware. “I expect to make a decision based on the data — I’m looking forward to the end of the week.”

The administration is increasingly looking for ways to protect the public from high prices at the pump, which began to climb last year and rose after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. According to AAA, gas prices nationwide average about $5 per gallon.

Biden said members of his team will meet with CEOs of major oil companies this week to discuss the price hike. Biden hit out at oil companies, saying they are making exorbitant profits when people are missing out on the skyrocketing costs at the pump and inflation. But Biden said he himself would not meet with oil officials.

“I want an explanation as to why they aren’t refining more oil,” Biden said.

The Biden administration has already released oil from the US Strategic Reserve and increased ethanol blending for the summer, in addition to sending a letter last week to oil refiners urging them to increase their refining capacity. Yet those efforts have yet to significantly ease price pressures, as the administration is now considering a gas tax holiday. Taxes on petrol and diesel fuel help pay for highways.

The Penn Wharton budget model released estimates Wednesday that gas tax holidays in Connecticut, Georgia and Maryland caused consumers to save at the pump. Most of the savings in the energy sector went to consumers rather than to service stations and others.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm cautioned in a Sunday interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” that “part of the challenge with the gas tax is, of course, it funds the roads.”

But Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday that “consumers are really hurt by higher gas prices” and remained open for the gas tax holiday.

Yellen said in a joint press conference with Canada’s deputy prime minister in Toronto on Monday, “It has been a great burden on American families and I think it’s not right, but some consider it as a policy to address.” should be done.” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Oil refiners say their ability to produce additional gas and diesel fuel is limited, meaning prices could remain high until demand begins to subside.

The American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers sent a joint letter to Biden on Wednesday, saying refineries were already operating close to their maximum capacity and that nearly half of that capacity was due to facilities converting to renewable fuel production. The reason was closed.

“Today’s situation did not happen overnight and neither will it be resolved soon,” the letter said. “To protect and promote US energy security and refining, we urge you to take steps to encourage more domestic energy production, including new infrastructure and reduce regulatory burdens.”

While strolling the beach with his daughter Ashley, granddaughter Naomi and his granddaughter’s fiancée, Biden stopped frequently to chat with beach-goers who spent Juneteenth’s federal vacation at the beach.

He took a moment to offer reassurance about inflation — the consumer-price index rose to a nearly 40-year high of 8.6% in May from the same month a year earlier — and growing warnings from economists that a recession may be around the corner. Is.

“We’re going to get it, guys,” Biden told a group of beachgoers.

Last week, the Federal Reserve stepped up its campaign to tame inflation by raising its key interest rate by three-quarters of a point — its biggest increase in nearly three decades — and signaling a major rate hike to come.

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that in his estimation, “the prime likelihood will be that by the end of next year we will see a slowdown in the US economy.”

Biden said he spoke with Summers, who served as Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, on Monday morning.

“Nothing about a recession is inevitable,” Biden said.


Bock reported from Baltimore. AP writer Rob Gillies contributed from Toronto.

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