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Gas Tax Holidays Are Coming, But Are They Smart? (Podcast)

March 18, 2022, 8:45 AM

Gasoline prices have reached record highs in recent weeks, spurring lawmakers across the country to look for ways to offer some relief.

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A popular target: the excise taxes the federal government and states collect to fund transportation programs. Some congressional Democrats have floated a suspension of the 18.3 cent-per-gallon federal gas tax, while many governors are pursuing state holidays that could provide some temporarily relief to drivers.

Temporarily ditching the gas tax would offer some obvious political benefits for lawmakers running for re-election this year. But how much would it actually help consumers with the national average for regular gasoline up to well over $4 a gallon and gas prices nearing $6 a gallon in California?

Lucy Dadayan and Howard Gleckman of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center appear on the latest episode of our weekly Talking Tax podcast to talk about proposed gas tax holidays. Gleckman argues that suspending the federal excise tax could actually fuel further price increases, while Dadayan suggests states should instead look at targeted tax rebates to help low-income families struggling with inflation.

Do you have feedback on this episode of Talking Tax? Give us a call and leave a voicemail at 703-341-3690.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kaustuv Basu in Washington at kbasu@bloombergtax.com; Donna Borak in New York at dborak@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Patrick Ambrosio at PAmbrosio@bloombergindustry.com; Alex Clearfield at aclearfield@bloombergindustry.com