Mid-South drivers react to possible 3-month federal gas tax holiday

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With gas prices already reaching all-time highs across the U.S., President Biden has called for a three-month federal gas tax holiday to help drivers.

MORE: Biden calls on Congress to suspend federal gas tax for 3 months; ask states to do the same

According to a release from the White House, Biden is calling on Congress to take additional legislative action to provide direct relief to Americans.

Biden said on Monday that he is hoping to soon have a decision on whether to implement a federal gas tax holiday before the July 4 holiday weekend.

Currently, the federal government charges an 18.3-cent tax per gallon of gasoline and a 24.4-cent tax per gallon of diesel.

Biden’s gas tax holiday would suspend the tax through September, according to the release.

According to AAA, the national average cost of gas is $4.98, down from an all-time high of $5.02 a gallon. It is the first time the price of a gallon of gas has dropped in more than two months.

In addition to federal gas tax relief, the president is calling on state and local governments to provide additional consumer relief, including temporary suspensions of state sales tax on gas, consumer rebates, and relief payments.

Biden spoke with reporters about a gas rebate plan that would send gas rebate cards to millions of Americans.

“Families in Memphis struggle. With a large poverty population, we’ve got a large group of people that can’t afford to pay higher prices,” local economist John Gnuschke said.

”It would be nice if the state of Tennessee and other states that surround us did the exact same thing,” he said.

If Mid-South leaders take Gnuschke’s advice, drivers in Tennessee could save an additional 27 cents per gallon. In Arkansas, 24 cents per gallon, and in Mississippi, 18 cents per gallon.

“In the end, we know we have to increase production of petroleum,” said Gnuschke.

Gnuschke said gas taxes are primarily used for freeway maintenance. Taking it away altogether would lead to trouble down the road, which is why the tax cuts have to be temporary.

FOX13 spoke to people gassing up Wednesday afternoon.

People at the pump offered a bunch of different ideas on what they think President Biden can and can’t do to make a difference in gas prices. While the President has proposed a three-month gas tax holiday getting rid of the 18-cent federal gas tax and called on states to follow, some said it would work, and some said it won’t.  

“I think it could be done. What do you think?” Oxford’s Allen Parker said.

“It’s ridiculous, getting rid of the gas tax. It won’t benefit us. It would benefit the man who already has the money, and we are trying to make money. We work hard every day,” said Leroy Phillips of Water Valley.    

The president also said that the companies that own the gas stations need to bring the price of gas down quicker as crude comes down and more oil needs to be refined into gas. Oxford’s Allen Parker told FOX13 that’s only part of the problem.  

“I think that would help. They got that Oklahoma Pipeline; they ain’t using that at all. I don’t know why but that would make it come down a little bit,” Parker said  

While the president said refining has dropped since the pandemic and prices have skyrocketed since the war in Ukraine, Will Logan of Oxford said he’s just ready for prices to come down.  

“It’s enough blame to go around, so I’m not going to put it on any one person. There is enough blame to go around,” Logan said.