ARTBA opposes Senate bill to suspend federal gas tax

Feb. 10, 2022

If passed, the legislation will suspend the 18.4 cents per gallon of the federal gas tax until Jan. 1, 2023

Six U.S. Senators on Wednesday introduced the Gas Prices Relief Act, legislation to lower gas prices by temporarily suspending the federal gas tax.

“This is important legislation that will help us lower costs for Nevada families,” Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada) said in a statement. “I’m committed to finding solutions that bring our families some much-needed relief at the pump and help them get ahead.”

According to a news release from Senator Cortez Masto's office, the Gas Prices Relief Act will suspend the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax until Jan. 1, 2023. The senator's office says the current national average for the cost of a gallon of gas is nearly one dollar higher than it was at the same time last year, according to AAA.

Along with Senator Cortez Masto, the legislation is sponsored by Senators Mark Kelly (D-Arizona), Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire), Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada).

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in opposition to the bill. 

"Legislation introduced today to temporarily suspend the $18.3-cent-per-gallon federal gasoline user fee and alter the carefully-negotiated revenue structure that will pay for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) three months after enactment is shortsighted and misguided," ARTBA President & CEO David C. Bauer said in the letter. "We urge you to oppose this measure."

In the letter, ARTBA cited a recent U.S. Energy Information Administration “Short-Term Energy Outlook," which projects a 57 cent-per-gallon decline in gas prices over the next year. "When put in real terms, this will reduce gasoline prices close to the historic lows reached during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020," the letter says.

ARTBA also cited a 2020 study from the Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (TIAC) that shows that 113 adjustments to motor gas tax rates were made from 2013 to 2018 in 29 states. 

"Notably, the report found that on average, one-third of an increase—or decrease—was passed through to consumers in the retail price on the day that change takes effect, with no significant impact after that time," the letter says. "The results confirm previous research that suggest user fees are just one component of a complex pricing scheme that includes consideration of the price of crude oil and other factors."

-----------

Source: ARTBA | Office of Senator Catherine Cortez Masto