We look at what impact a gas tax holiday could have locally

JOPLIN, Mo. – President Biden is proposing a three-month federal gas tax holiday. We spoke with local officials and representatives about the proposal.

The proposal would shave around 18 cents off the cost of gas for unleaded fuel, and about a quarter off for diesel fuel. The federal gas tax pays for about 25% of state highway projects. If it were eliminated for three months, that’s three months of lost revenue. Despite that, Steve Hale with KDOT says, they’re not concerned. “Our impression is that the revenues coming from the federal government towards our budget would not, even if reduced some, would not be significant enough to impact our overall budget or our projects that are now in process.”

Hale says the funds they do receive are key to projects in the state. “Certainly, as we look for funding as projects move into our pipeline as part of our Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program, those federal funds are a component of our long-range planning, so, certainly we look at those and they’re very important to our infrastructure.”

On the Missouri side, officials with MoDOT tell us it’s too early to know if the holiday would have an impact on state projects. We spoke with Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, who says the tax holiday is little more than a gimmick and won’t really ease the pain at the pump. “I mean, if you look at filling up an F-150 for example, you’d get out of this, over the whatever, two or three months it would last, you’d save about $30 or something, I mean, come on, it’s insulting, it’s really insulting, that’s why I say if he’s serious about this, make it permanent, make it permanent.”

Senator Hawley says he would support a permanent tax cut and believes there’s a way to pay for that cut. “I would support a permanent gas tax cut and the way to pay for that would be to put a tariff on Chinese energy production, on Chinese solar panels and wind turbines and batteries, so if he were serious, he would open up American energy production and he would cut the gas tax permanently and tariff our competitors, but he’s not going to do that.”

According to AAA, the Joplin area has the lowest average gas price in Missouri, at $4.44 a gallon for regular unleaded.

More Information: AAA Gas Prices Outlook and Tips