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U.S. President Joe Biden called on Congress today to suspend the federal gas tax for the next 90 days.
“Today, I’m calling on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for the next 90 days through the busy summer season—the busy travel season,” the President said on Wednesday.
The suspension of the gas tax—effectively a federal gas tax holiday--would amount to an 18 cent reduction in the price of gasoline and a 24 cent reduction in the price of diesel.
“I call on the companies to pass this along—every penny of this 18 cent reduction—to the consumer. This is no time now for profiteering.”
President Biden also called on Congress to move other proposals forward that are moving through the House and Senate.
The President also suggested that further reductions in the gasoline prices could come from suspending state gas taxes as well.
Biden stressed that this gas tax holiday—whether a federal gas tax holiday or a combination of federal and state gas tax holidays—alone won’t fix the problem.
President Biden asked the industry to refine more oil into gasoline to bring down gas prices, arguing that the high gas prices weren’t due to a lack of crude oil production, but a lack of refining.
“I’m calling on the industry to refine more oil into gasoline and to bring down gas prices,” Biden said. U.S. refiners are currently operating at 93.7% of their operable capacity, according to the Energy Information Administration.
“I know my Republican friends claim we’re not producing enough oil and I’m limiting oil production. Quite frankly, that’s nonsense. Here’s the truth: just this month, America produced 12 million barrels of oil per day—that’s higher than average under my predecessor,” Biden said, citing the prowess of the U.S. crude oil industry under his administration.
U.S. crude oil production averaged 12.289 million bpd in 2019--the year before the pandemic under U.S. President Donald Trump, before sinking as oil companies responded to the reduced demand. Last year, U.S. crude production averaged just 11.188 million bpd.
Biden called on the oil companies to work with my admin to bring refineries that were shut during the pandemic back online. A meeting is scheduled for Thursday between some of the largest U.S. refiners and U.S. Secretary Jennifer Granholm to discuss ways to accomplish this.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.