U.S. President Joe Biden is calling Wednesday for Congress to suspend the nation’s federal gas tax to help consumers cope with a rise in prices linked in part to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Ahead of Biden’s planned remarks about gas prices, the White House said in a statement the president is supporting suspending the tax of 18.4 cents per gallon until the end of September.
“President Biden understands that a gas tax holiday alone will not, on its own, relieve the run up in costs that we’ve seen,” the White House said. “But the President believes that at this unique moment when the war in Ukraine is imposing costs on American families, Congress should do what it can to provide working families breathing room.”
Most of the money from the federal gas tax goes toward road construction projects. The White House said other revenues could cover the “roughly $10 billion cost” of suspending the tax.
Average gas prices in the United States are at about $5 per gallon. Fuel prices around the world have risen in recent months, with rebounds in demand, refining capacity challenges and sanctions against major oil producer Russia among the contributing factors.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday that the issue is a top priority for Biden and “all options are on the table.”
“He’s going to do everything that he can to make sure he relieves some pain and some pressure that Americans are feeling at the pump,” Jean-Pierre said.
Opponents of suspending the tax, including some Democratic lawmakers, say the move would not address supply problems and would take money away from infrastructure needs.