Consumer Alert: The President calls for a federal gas tax holiday

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – Remember at the top of the hour we told you that President Biden is calling on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax? That could save us another 18 cents at the pump.

I have a 16-gallon tank I usually fill up once a week. If this gas tax holiday passes, the total from my county, state, and federal tax savings would be almost 30 bucks a month, $29.44 to be exact.

But for us to get the full savings the president is promising, the stars must be aligned, Providence must smile on D.C., and Republicans and Democrats must work as one. In other words, it’s not likely.

"Today I’m calling for a federal gas tax holiday, state gas tax holiday for the equivalent relief for customers, oil companies to use their profits to increase their refining capacity rather than buy back their own stock," President Joe Biden said during a Wednesday news conference.

He believes those three measures, taken together, can decrease the price at the pump by as much as a dollar a gallon. Will it? Let’s look at the suspension of the county, state, and federal gas taxes.

Before June 1, the Monroe County gas tax was 4 percent. That means if gas is 5 bucks a gallon, we paid Monroe County twenty cents per gallon. After June 1, Monroe County capped its tax at 8 cents per gallon. So if gas is five bucks a gallon, your Monroe County gas tax savings is now 12 cents. That’s because 20 cents, the tax before the cap, minus 8 cents is 12 cents. So in Monroe County, your savings of 12 cents plus the state gas tax of 16 cents and the federal gas tax of 18 cents. That equals a total gas tax savings of 46 cents.

"I call on the companies to pass this along, every penny of this 18-cent reduction to the consumers,” said Biden. “There’s no time now for profiteering."

But will the full savings be passed on to consumers? The University of Pennsylvania conducted an analysis of the recent gas tax holidays in three states and found consumers reaped 58 to 87 percent of the savings, and it wasn’t for the whole holiday. Companies eventually absorbed more and more of the savings.

Congress still has to pass the measure, and right now it doesn’t look likely. As for increasing the supply of gas, that’s up to refineries. The president is meeting with industry leaders on Thursday. So for now, saving is up to us.

Here’s Deanna’s Do List for saving at the pump:

  • Show no loyalty. You may have a loyalty card at a gas station, but it takes forever for you to build up enough points to get a discount. In the meantime, you may be able to get cheaper gas elsewhere.
  • Combine trips. Get those errands done in one trip rather than multiple runs.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated.
  • Drive evenly. Consumer Reports tests found that hard braking and acceleration can reduce your gas economy by up to 3 mpg.
  • Buy Top Tier gas. The detergents in it are easier on your engine and increase fuel economy. (PLEASE LINK TO TOP TIER.
  • Skip premium. Unless your car says premium is required, you get little benefit from premium gas. You can find your car’s octane requirements on the fuel filler door.
  • Use a gas app that tells you where the cheapest gas is in your area.

Here are my favorite gas apps:
Gas Guru
Mapquest Gas Prices
Top Tier Gas