With gas prices at record highs across the country, lawmakers are calling for federal and state gas tax relief measures. According to AAA, the average cost of gas in Pennsylvania is now shy of $4.40, and in much of eastern Pennsylvania, the price of gas is more than $4.40 a gallon. According to the American Petroleum Institute, the federal gas tax is 18 cents per gallon, while Pennsylvania’s 57.6-cents-a-gallon gas tax is among the highest in the nation, ranking behind only California and Illinois,
PA Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman said he is introducing the Consumer Gas Prices Relief Act to lower gas prices and bring much-needed economic relief to families. Corman noted that his proposal would cut the state gas tax by about 20 cents per gallon, which, combined with a freeze on the federal gas tax, would cut the total gas tax collected per gallon by about 50 percent. The lost gas tax revenue would be offset by directing $500 million of federal COVID-19 relief aid to state police and issuing $650 million in bonds to ensure infrastructure projects remain funded.
Rep. Ryan Warner, R-Fayette, announced last week that he intends to introduce legislation that would halt the state’s gas tax collection until the end of the year. Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced that he’d intended to introduce legislation that would call for a six-month gas tax holiday.
None of these bills have been introduced yet.
Meanwhile, Gov. Tom Wolf joined the governors of five other states last Tuesday when he announced his support for a federal gas tax holiday as sanctions on Russian oil drive up prices. Gov. Wolf has signed on to a letter sent to congressional leaders along with the governors of Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico, and Minnesota.
However, when asked about supporting a state gas tax moratorium during a PA House budget hearing last Thursday, State Budget Secretary Greg Thall said that the administration would like to see a plan for how the state would continue fixing roads and bridges before the Governor commits.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it does not support a gas tax holiday because it would negatively impact the Highway Trust Fund. In an article published in the Morning Call, PA Chamber President & CEO Gene Barr said the lost tax revenue would hurt efforts to improve roads and bridges.