(UnitedVoice.com) – Inflation has driven up prices everywhere, and the gas pumps are no exception. According to the AAA, the national average of fuel is $3.48 per gallon, at the time of writing, nearly a full dollar more than it was a year ago. Now, some Senate Democrats are hoping to cut down the pinch on Americans’ wallets on a necessary commodity for most.
Gas Prices Relief Act
On Wednesday, February 9, two Democratic senators, Mark Kelly (AZ) and Maggie Hassan (NH), introduced legislation to suspend the federal gas tax for the remainder of 2022. The Gas Prices Relief Act, if passed, would lower prices by 18 cents per gallon nationwide.
Additionally, the Senators created the legislation to pass the tax savings to Americans who may be struggling to make ends meet but need to fuel up to get to work and transport children to school. Kelly wants to lower the prices for his constituents as Arizona has one of the highest rates per gallon in the nation.
The legislation is co-sponsored by other Democrats, including Raphael Warnock (GA), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Jackie Rosen (NV) and Debbie Stabenow (MI).
How Would It Work?
One of the provisions of the legislation calls for the Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, to oversee the program, ensuring the federal savings are passed to consumers at the pump and not pocketed by the fueling stations. The problem with this is there are over 150,000 gas stations in the country, and that’s quite the undertaking to follow up with each location.
Additionally, since the federal gas tax maintains the Highway Trust Fund, the government must maintain the fund and keep it solvent. Yellen would have to make general fund transfers, adding even more responsibility to her plate.
Furthermore, it might not even be feasible to monitor the program accurately, which might be the final nail in the act’s coffin before it even sees the light of day.
Some see the act’s proposal as a political ploy by the Democratic senators, several of whom are up for re-election during the 2022 midterms. Specifically, Hasson, Kelly, Warnock and Cortez Masto are particularly vulnerable, so the act seemingly comes at a beneficial time for them. If they can pass the legislation, it could curry favor come election time.
For now, there’s seemingly no end in sight to the rising gas prices, with experts predicting the rates will continue to increase through at least the spring when they just might hit record-highs.
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