HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — President Biden asked Congress to pass a 3-month gas tax holiday Wednesday.
The national average gas price is almost $2 more than last year.
William Richardson, a Portsmouth resident, said the gas prices are taking a toll on him. He said he’s spending around $20 more each time at the pump.
He hopes the gas tax holiday will provide some relief.
“We need it. We need a whole lot of relief. Yes, prices are too high. Gas is really high, so we need something to help us out. Everybody needs help right now,” Richardson said.
The gas tax holiday would save you around 18 cents per gallon of gasoline. For diesel drivers, you would see 24-cent tax relief.
If you had a 14-gallon tank, you would save around $3 on gasoline. Those extra dollars may provide some relief at the pump, but Timothy Komarek, an ODU economics professor, says the government can’t dictate who benefits from a tax reduction.
“It either goes to one of either side of the market: the supply side and the sellers or the demand side and the buyers,” he said.
Komarek said most of the benefits will go to oil companies.
“There is a lot of evidence to suggest that buyers shouldn’t expect to see many of the benefits from reducing the federal or the state gasoline tax,” Komarek said.
He said he doesn’t expect to see gas prices going down much.
That’s why Congressman Donald McEachin said he is proposing the People over Petroleum bill that would provide rebates to consumers by taking away tax subsidies for fossil fuel.
“We take away the big subsidies and we return it to the American people,” he said.
McEachin said he thought Biden’s gas tax holiday was well-intentioned, but feared it may not produce results for consumers.
He even asked four of the major producers of oil if this will provide an 18.3 cent relief for consumers.
“Not one of them could commit to a deduction of the price,” McEachin said.
Congressman Bobby Scott echoed the same sentiment, but also hopes to strengthen existing bills.
He said in a statement to 10 on Your Side:
“President Biden and Congressional Democrats have made cutting costs for families our number one priority as we continue to tackle the global inflation problem. I would need to see further details of President Biden’s proposed federal gas tax holiday, as most studies have shown that gas tax holidays primarily serve to increase profits for the gas and oil industry as these savings are rarely passed on to the consumers. I believe we could more effectively cut costs for families by building on the strong bills to lower prices at the pump already passed by House Democrats including the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act and the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act.”Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03)
Biden is pushing for the gas tax holiday federally, but he also wants states to take action. That is what Governor Glenn Youngkin has tried — which failed in the General Assembly. He said he will continue to push for the gas tax holiday in the next session.
“The governor sent three separate gas tax suspension proposals to ease the pain at the pump for Virginians and Senate Democrats blocked them,” said Youngkin’s office following an inquiry. “Now, we see the White House calling on states to suspend their own gas taxes demonstrating that Virginia Senate Democrats are out of step with everyday Virginians and their own party. Virginians should remember every time they go to the gas pump this summer that Senate Democrats stood in the way of lowering gas prices.”
“Virginians are really hurting. When Virginians are really hurting the people they elect to represent them need to go to work for them,” Youngkin said.
If you are looking for immediate relief, try carpooling. The AAA Tidewater spokeswoman, Holly Dalby, said to avoid all the Hampton Roads traffic if you can.