Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gas Tax Holiday - Good or Bad?

One of John McCain's favorite ideas is the Gas Tax Holiday. He spoke about it this morning (link to follow).

A Gas Tax Holiday is a period of time when there are no taxes on gasoline. In this case, it would be Federal Taxes. State and/or local taxes would remain. If you drive a regular car, you would save, in theory, 18.4 cents per gallon. If you use diesel, in theory, you would save 24.4 cents per gallon.

There are a few things I don't understand about this idea.

2. Originally, he proposed that the Gas Tax Holiday would run from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but recently, the AP reported that he wanted to extend it without saying how long he wants to extend it. Specifics. I'd like specifics.

3. It seems to me that the 18.4 or 24.4 cents per gallon is not just "fun money," but rather it is used to pay for things such as roads, schools, and the like. These aren't luxuries, like a trip to Dairy Queen might be. We need these things. Where will the money come from to pay for them if we have a Gas Tax Holiday? Or will we have a tax increase after the tax is reinstated to recover the money lost during the Gas Tax Holiday?

4. Gas station owners claim that despite $4+ per gallon prices, they are struggling and only make about 10 - 12 cents per gallon and that gets eaten up with credit card charges. The idea behind a Gas Tax Holiday is that the price of gas will go down from say $4.18 a gallon (with the tax) to $4 a gallon (without the tax), but what's the motivation for the gas station that's been struggling, and in some cases losing money, to lower their prices? Won't they just think to themselves "thank goodness! I can finally make up some of those profits I've been losing?" I know you're thinking that if the Shell station on one corner lowers their prices, the BP across the street will follow. But what if none of them lower their prices? They're certainly not required to do so.

5. Won't people be even more irritated when the Federal Gas Tax is reinstated? And then what?
6. Would John and Cindy McCain be willing to personally cover the financial losses to the Federal Government from their vast beer fortune?


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