SAN DIEGO — On Wednesday, President Biden proposed a tax holiday for the summer.
Biden has asked Congress to suspend the federal gas tax on gasoline and diesel, and has called on states to suspend their own gas taxes. Several drivers around San Diego County have said they welcome the relief at the pump.
“That should have been done a long time ago,” said driver Luciano Hernandez. Hernandez said he has multiple cars in the family, and fills up every 5 days for $88 dollars. He said visiting family out of state has been minimal. But seeing a gas tax suspension federally and statewide encourages him.
“We have to calculate how much we are going to spend at the pump — that does eat into our vacation time, our travelling time, stuff like that, so extremely difficult,” Hernandez explained.
It’s a similar struggle for retired San Diegan, Mitchell Collins. He said he helps take care of his five daughters’ children.
“I’m picking the kids up from school, I’m taking them to school, saving them a bunch of money in day care,” Collins said. “Yeah, we could use the help.
The proposed 90-day tax holiday would suspend the federal gas tax of 18 cents and 24 cents for diesel. Biden has also asked states to cut their gas tax or offer some relief to drivers. California’s gas tax will increase to 54 cents on July 1.
Relief may vary: University of San Diego economics professor Alan Gin said gas stations are not required to lower prices by the full tax amount. However, Gin mentioned that any break consumers can get, could help locally.
“For every one cent that the price of a gallon of gasoline goes down, that’s $1 million a month added to the local economy,” Gin said.
The president also asked the gas industry to increase production. Biden proposed the industry refine more oil into gasoline. However, Gin said, oil production is slow to rebound.
Meanwhile, debate at the state capitol is moving slowly over giving $400 rebates to all registered drivers in California. Some experts have said that might be a better option to suspending the gas tax.
“You’d definitely be getting money into the hands of consumers. And if it’s in the form of a card they have to go out and spend it, and that would pump money into the economy,” Gin said.
The tax holiday Biden is proposing is not finalized. Congress still needs to approve it.