Biden says he’ll likely make decision on possible gas tax holiday by end of this week

(CBS) — President Biden said Monday he hopes to make a decision on whether he’ll support a federal gas tax holiday by the end of this week, as soaring prices at the pump cramp American budgets heading into the summer months.

Mr. Biden speaking to reporters in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, said he’s “considering” whether to back temporarily removing the tax, which is 18.4 cents per gallon. According to AAA, the national average cost of gas is $4.98, registering its first weekly drop in more than two months amid declining oil prices and a dip in consumer demand. It hit an all-time peak of $5.02 a few days ago.

“Well, I hope I have a decision based on data I’m looking for by — by the end of the week,” the president told reporters by the beach Monday.

He added that a gas rebate card is also under consideration, although just how that would work is not yet clear.

“My team is going to be sitting down with the CEOs of major oil companies this week and deciding to get an explanation on how they justify making $35 billion in the first quarter,” the president said Monday.

Gas prices, already on an upward trajectory before Russian Vladimir Putin launched his war on Ukraine, have been soaring in the U.S. and globally since.

Some Democrats have already introduced legislation to suspend the federal gas tax. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday that Mr. Biden “stands ready to work with Congress,” and a federal gas tax suspension is “certainly worth considering.” The president would need Congress’ support for the suspension, but presidential weight behind the idea would give it more momentum.

Critics of a gas tax holiday say there’s no guarantee consumers would see the savings, and suspending the national tax could undermine funding for needed road improvement projects. The federal gas tax hasn’t been increased in nearly three decades.

Earlier this year, at the end of March, the president authorized the release of one million barrels of oil a day from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve for six months, in an effort to ease high gas prices.

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