The White House's proposed federal gasoline tax three-month holiday proposal is not just stalled. A metaphorical Congressional tow truck has pulled it from the legislative roadside where it was sputtering.
The main reason is, as noted earlier, is surprisingly united Capitol Hill opposition to waiving the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax. In fact, lawmakers also have been united in refusing to increase it. It hasn't been hiked since 1993.
Another reason is, despite the grousing and social media posts of auto fill-up pump prices, people are still hitting the roads, at least early this summer. That's taken some of the public pressure off Washington, D.C., to act.
Some easing of pump prices: Finally, gas prices have dropped. It's not due to oil company actions after getting called out by President Joe Biden. Rather, oil prices have tumbled on global economic slowdown fears.
After hitting $5 (or more) a gallon the week of June 13, AAA reports today's (July 9) national average is just under $4.70.
OK, $4.70 still is pretty pricey. But it's a United States average, meaning fuel is cheaper in some places.
That's why this weekend's first Saturday Shout Out goes to the Bloomberg article, Here's Where Gas Prices Are Cheapest After Biggest Drop in More Than a Decade.
Dodging taxes as well as other autos: The other Saturday Shout Out today goes to a column on how high gasoline prices have turned more drivers into de facto tax evaders.
OK, it's not as nefarious as it sounds. In fact, technically they are avoiding a tax. And they're doing so legally.
They are electric vehicle (EV) drivers.
They also are the answer to Robert Goulder's Tax Notes opinion piece's headline question, Are Tesla Drivers Tax Dodgers? Facing limited options in how to beat expensive fuel costs, Goulder writes:
"The best option is to ditch your gas guzzler in favor of an electric vehicle. If you're not inclined to do it for the sake of environmental concerns, do it for the sake of good old-fashion tax avoidance. There is literally nobody in the country who cares less about the price of gas — or gas taxes — than someone who drives a plug-in."
State fees for EVs etc.: Of course, many states are trying to close this tax loophole locally. They've enacted fees, if not technical taxes, on EVs and other energy-efficient autos.
But those tend to be collected annually when the vehicle is registered, making it not so in-your-face as the price of filling up every week or so with fossil fuel.
And some of the EVs still provide buyers with a federal tax credit.
So, in keeping with this weekend's shout outs, see if there's any relatively cheap gas near you. If not, then look into not-quite-cheating Uncle Sam out of some cents and getting an EV.
You also might find these items of interest:
- When did your state adopt its gasoline tax?
- Automakers seek end to EV tax credit sales cap
- As fuel prices continue rising, some states enact gas tax holidays
- Senate Finance chair exploring excess profits tax on oil companies