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Holiday from gas tax: Good idea or more politics?

May 2, 2008

A customer fills a car's tank at a gas station approximately one mile from the White House in Washington March 11, 2008.Presidential candidates John McCain and Hillary Clinton want to suspend the gas tax for the summer to offer drivers some relief from record fuel prices. President Bush said this week that he was willing to consider a fuel tax holiday.

Barack Obama opposes the idea, saying it would not amount to much. House Democratic leaders have also shown little support for suspending the gas tax. Some experts say that a gas tax holiday wouldn’t help drivers much if service stations don’t pass on the savings to consumers.

Do you support a gas tax holiday this summer?


A gas tax holiday is blatant politics at its worst. Such a notion is completely counter to what America needs – less dependence on non-renewable energy resources, NOT encouragement to use more. Have these ‘politicians’ ever heard of global warming? I am ashamed of my government; it is a failed system. We have the means, we do NOT have the political will to do the right things.

Posted by CC Whitley | Report as abusive

This is silliness. Lowering fuel prices a few cents is misleading and encourages us to continue to treat gasoline as an entitlement. We should plan our lives to waste less fuel. All of us can cut back 10- 20%. Kids want to go to soccer practice? Let them ride their bikes–good training for their future. For those that moved far from their work place and commute in a gas-guzzler: you made decisions to use a large share of the communities resources. When those resources run low, its just that you should suffer more.

Posted by gbreite | Report as abusive

Been practicing gas tax holiday for weeks, riding the bus. Haven’t started my car since April 20.

Posted by Anjelo Bant | Report as abusive

Suspending the gas tax for the summer wouldn’t help much…I mean come on, $0.185 per gallon less? You’re talking an average savings each time you fill up of $2.59? Keep it! What about a national movement towards a 4-day work week even if it was just temporary until our dependence on foreign oil decreased a bit…yeah right! But seriously…who wouldn’t want a 3-day weekend every week?

Posted by Luke Colletti | Report as abusive

After having the price go up 20 cents, I would welcome the tax break. It would pay a month of my water bill. I think those who feel it wouldn’t do anything for us don’t pay attention when they fill up anyway as they have enough money to do whatever they want when they want. It’s not the case for those of us who have to scramble to meet the monthly bills and pay for groceries as they continue to climb. I think any break is a good break.

Posted by Cindy Colwell | Report as abusive

Most definitely! A penny save is a penny earned.

Posted by Kim | Report as abusive

Any drop in gas tax would not translate much to drivers. It instead will do the opposite.It increases demand which will take prices higher as speculative commodity traders will buy more crude as demand goes up ( or supply cuts down ).

The real solution to bring down gas prices would be a combination of the following factors:
Drivers should drive more cautiously and follow some discipline, not braking suddenly, hitting the throttle smoothly etc.
The maximum speed on highways should be reduced to 50 mph – which in turn will improve fuel economy in cars which will lead to lesser fuel consumption.
Make it easier for oil companies to drill more oil by leveraging mandatory drilling laws and tax breaks to promote more drilling.
Regulation in crude trading.


18 cents is not going to help a common man.

Posted by vivek | Report as abusive

Oh great– let’s give the oil companies a day-long surge in sales! That will totally help this situation!


If they’re trying to buy my vote, just give me the $30.

Posted by RollaMO | Report as abusive

I do not want a gas tax holiday. Tax is not the problem. The cost from oil companies is the problem.

Posted by Roy Truelsen | Report as abusive

How is saving the public money silly ? What is silly is the green extremists setting up road blocks to drilling in ANWR or off the Florida Keys where drilling will commence since Cuba licensed China to drill there. The greens also block refineries on West coast, where, shockingly the price of a gallon of gas is higher than on the East coast/ Mid West

Posted by David R | Report as abusive

Politicians who offer gimmicks like gas-tax-holidays assume that the majority voters are stupid. From past election results, I can’t really argue against their strategy. Pretty sad, though.

Posted by PuWeiTa | Report as abusive

i`d rather paye 30 cents more and have safe highways and bridges. 30 cents more is misleading not saving and defenetly not a solution, the solution is technology and science , very low energy consuming engines do exist, let them see the light.

Posted by frombelair | Report as abusive

Not at all – having the gas tax holiday would do little short-term good for consumers and would only increase the demand, which would lead to even higher prices come fall / winter when folks need it even more for heating, etc. It is terrible economics / politics with a headline that simply preys on the hearts and minds of the uneducated in the American public…simply because it sounds good…

Posted by Matt Abrams | Report as abusive

No candidate is going to buy my vote with a gas tax holiday. Motorist should slow down, in addition to parking their vehicles more.

I want to see a chart with the unit price of gas with the tax shown separately per unit for each country. That would provide a true comparison of gas prices world wide.

Posted by John Baxley | Report as abusive

The market will charge what the market will bear. If the tax is cut oil companies and gas stations will raise their prices. They will profit and we will gain nothing. McCain’s plan to just cut the tax is a give away to oil companies and gas station owners. Clinton’s proposal to tax oil companies accordingly after the cut would just take the money out of the public coffers and then out it back in. This is just stupid and should be part of an economics intelligence test for candidates and voters.

Posted by sam | Report as abusive

Since it has been proved when states had moratoriums on the gas tax that the price didn’t drop the amount that the tax was, this foolishness wouldn’t give the ordinary citizen the 18.5 cent “break” at the pumps that it is touted as providing. Plus the government would lose $18 billion in tax revenue to repair roads and bridges. Wonder where they or the states would get this money? Increase other taxes maybe?

This also means the oil companies will continue to reap huge profits even as they continue getting tax breaks and taxpayer subsidies.
Why our politicians didn’t take away the oil subsidies and tax breaks after the oil companies record profits the last couple of years and put the money into alternative energy solutions is beyond me, but keep it up politicians.

Those of you who think this gimmick will do anything to lower your cost are naive.

Posted by Phyllis | Report as abusive

This is a total political scheme. Who will pay for it? Leftists don’t care, they just want the government to pay for everything, and don’t mind who’s pocket it comes out of. It’s not like big oil will have to pay for this or anything. Obama, a democrat, even thinks this is a bad idea. Notice how the Clinton campaign talks so much about making gas cheaper, and that Obama doesn’t want to save American’s money. He has the forsight to know that it just won’t save any of us blue-collar’s squat. Someone above me was right: Put me in line to club a couple baby seals to death, and then we can drill Alaska and wherever else till there is nothing less. People come first, and feeding my family is a hell of a lot more important to me than some Green party garbage. It’s like the hippie movement all over again.

Posted by Jake | Report as abusive

First of all, I’m against this tax holiday. It is a band aid over a broken leg, reminiscent of most American policy now in days. But, to think that the 3 months of oil we would get out of Alaskan oil would be worth the cost of hurting one of the last untouched American eco-systems is just crazy. The only sensible long-term solution is investment in renewable energy. This investment would provide jobs for thousands of Americans on factory lines, in R&D and the list goes on and on. Not to mention all of you who talk about how important it is to put food on the table first and screw the baby seals should be more concerned with whether your children’s children will have a table to even sit on or a planet to even live on. Let’s all do the sensible thing, think beyond ourselves and our immediate needs, and do what’s right not what’s easy.

Posted by Evan | Report as abusive

The technology problem was solved in the 80′s when fuel injection became standard and we accepted to drive cars with smaller engines. My ’95 Corolla still gets 30mpg. The problem is people like to drive big cars with huge engines that obviously use more fuel, simple physics here. It’s their choice and last time I checked this is a free country and if it floats your boat to drive and SUV then by all means do it. Just don’t come complaining that you can’t afford to drive it because it eats gasoline.

Global Warming and Al Gore are trivial at best with Al Gore just being a well paid person that morons with no understanding of Environmental Science will listen too.
The liberal media is responsible for a lot of the false reports on Global Warming. From my own research we’ve found that the climate is actually cooling slowly, but that’s not what people want to hear. There was a international scientific convention in NYC a month ago about how our data is innacurate and that the Earth goes through natural cyclic climate changes and has been doing it since the formation of our solar system, long before humans began burning fossil fuels. Our data is insufficient and we have not been able to prove that climate change is caused by anthropogenic sources. Al Gore like to show you the data plotted on a huge graph but shrinks the horizontal scale and elongates the vertical scale to exacerbate the rise in temperature.
If you’ve ever taken a statistics course one of the first rules is correlation does not equal causation. You make statistics show just about anything in your favor. Believe me, I’m about to get a degree in Environmental Economics. Hybrid cars won’t save you any money if you have to drive at 65mph to commute to work, you’re just using the smaller gasoline engine to lug the weight of batteries and an electric motor. It will only save you money if your commute is short and you drive at in-town speeds of less than 35mph; which is pointless because you could probably commute more efficiently by public transportation or riding a bicycle.

Economics teaches that more disposable income to consumers is better than less income. I prefer more utility over less, paying taxes has never made me feel better about myself or trust the government anymore than I already don’t. The gas tax may not be all that much but it’s something and to some people that can make a difference. Let’s face it politicians are always trying to deceive people into voting for them, more votes keeps them in power, they like that. The majority of the voters have very little in the way of political science or economics backgrounds and they will vote for whomever they believe will make their lives easier. Key word and phrase here are “believe” and “make life easier.” Life is never easy and believing is dreaming which isn’t very productive.

If you want to save some extra gas money for the summer, sell the SUV, get a decent road bicycle, learn to live a little, use the bike to commute to work if it’s not too far which will get you in shape. If you have to drive, get a used manual transmission small sedan. You won’t have to fill up the tank as often. Part of becoming more efficient is learning to live without unnecessary conveniences.

Posted by Bryguy | Report as abusive

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