(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden said Monday he would decide on a potential gas tax holiday by the end of the week.
Biden’s comments come after U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made similar remarks during an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
“That’s an idea that’s certainly worth considering,” Yellen said, referring to the gas tax holiday.
Biden was asked about the holiday Monday when he told reporters about his coming decision. The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon.
The president’s pledge comes after a string of record-breaking gas price benchmarks earlier this month with regular unleaded gas surpassing $5 per gallon nationwide. Regular gas took a slight dip to a national average of $4.98 per gallon Monday, according to AAA.
Diesel is at a national average of $5.82 per gallon after hitting a record high again over the weekend.
Some states have suspended their respective gas taxes because of the high prices, but those decisions raise additional problems since the levies are a key source of funding for infrastructure improvements.
Critics have said the holiday will not address the root causes of the gas price hike, which they say is largely attributable to Biden’s restrictions on pipeline development and drilling.
“Gasoline has more than doubled since Day 1 of the Biden presidency – from under $2.40 a gallon to more than $5 per gallon,” said Joel Griffith, an economic expert at the Heritage Foundation. “The president’s war on fossil fuels – including killing the Keystone XL oil pipeline, placing millions of acres of federal land off limits to exploration, and regulatory hurdles blocking new pipelines and refineries – promises to suppress supply of abundant, affordable fuels for decades to come.”
Griffith said the move would “allay just 1/10th of the surge in gas prices.”
“Instead of borrowing $52 billion to mask a small fraction of this pain, the president should halt his war on energy and expand supply by unleashing American energy producers,” he said. “The massive federal spending financed by money printing at the federal reserve is causing prices in other sectors to soar as well, costing the typical American family more than $2,500 annually. It’s time for Biden to acknowledge the pain his policies are causing. A gas tax holiday does nothing to address this reality.”
Other critics called it a short-term fix.
“While policymakers seem to recognize the impact of rising energy costs on American families, some continue to turn to short-term fixes that aren’t likely to provide lasting relief for consumers," said Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs at the American Petroleum Institute. "The best way to ensure Americans have access to the affordable and reliable energy they need is to promote policies that incentivize U.S. production and send a clear message that America is open for energy investment.”