By Anthony Hennen (The Center Square)
Gas prices, rising steadily over the last year and jumping dramatically since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, may not lead to a production spike, but the state and federal gas taxes could be paused to make the price shock less painful.
Gov. Tom Wolf, along with five other governors, sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to suspend the federal gas tax until the end of the year by passing the Gas Prices Relief Act. The legislation would suspend the gas tax and replace the tax revenue with dollars from the general fund.
“At a time when people are directly impacted by rising prices on everyday goods, a federal gas tax holiday is a tool in the toolbox to reduce costs for Americans, and we urge you to give every consideration to this proposed legislation,” the governors wrote.
The national average price for gas is $4.25, and even higher in Pennsylvania at $4.39, according to data from AAA. The average price in Pennsylvania one year ago was $3.01.
Pennsylvania’s state gas tax is 58.7 cents per gallon, and the federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon.
State legislators are also considering a state gas tax holiday. Rep. Ryan Warner, R-Lemont Furnace, announced that he will introduce legislation to suspend the gas and diesel tax in the Commonwealth until the end of the year. Sen. Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte, is also introducing legislation that would reduce the state gas tax by 20 cents and use federal funds to make up for the tax revenue shortfall. It would also allow the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to issue a $650 million bond to keep infrastructure projects funded.
“Taking this action now will not only provide much-needed economic relief for families for the upcoming months, but it will help us determine how we can best meet our long-term infrastructure needs without relying so heavily on the gas tax in the future,” Corman said.
PennDOT could not be reached for comment. But the department has warned legislators before about the gas tax, which produces the most revenue for the state’s road network, shrinking as a revenue generator. If a gas tax holiday gets approved, the Commonwealth will have to find other ways to fund infrastructure.
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