John McCain photo

McCain Campaign Press Release - "In Case You Missed It": Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) Addresses John McCain's Gas Tax Holiday

April 17, 2008

Sen. Jon Kyl

Floor Of The United States Senate

Washington, D.C.

April 17, 2008

SENATOR JON KYL: "Mr. President, about almost 24 hours ago I had asked the Chairman of the Committee about offering an amendment to this legislation. It's clear that as a result of the agreement that's been worked out and the filing of the cloture and so on that it's not going to be possible to get a vote on the amendment that I was speaking about. But I would like to talk briefly about that amendment and indicate that it would be offered on behalf of Senator McCain, my colleague from Arizona, as well as other senators, some of whom may want to also speak to it briefly. We all know that gasoline prices have risen dramatically, and what the amendment that Senator McCain and I and others would offer would do is to provide a temporary tax holiday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, preventing the federal government from collecting the 18.4 cent tax -- the gasoline tax that otherwise motorists would pay. I assure my colleagues that the Highway Trust Fund which that tax goes into would be kept whole with federal revenues from the general treasury. So the money that we use to build highways and bridges and so on would not be affected by this amendment.

"Just briefly, I think we all feel the pinch when we fill up our cars and trucks, but listen to these statistics. According to, gasoline prices at the pump have increased from $2.22 to $3.33 a gallon, up 50% since the start of 2006. And I checked in my home state of Arizona yesterday, it was $3.38. There's very little that Congress can do in the near-term to reduce gas prices other than this gas tax holiday. In the long-term, we know that we've got to add more production and refining capacity in our country, and that we've got to encourage supplies to increase.

"But for right now, the one thing Congress can do and do virtually immediately is to provide this short-term relief from the federal gas tax. At $3.33 a gallon, prices are the highest on record. According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics' 2005 Consumer Expenditure Survey, families with two cars spent on average $2,013 on gasoline. Since that study was released, prices have increased dramatically. Gasoline price increases imply families are now paying at least $3,065 on gasoline in a year. And a big chunk of that is federal, state, and local taxes. In fact, the average family pays nearly $170 in federal gas taxes. Nearly 50 cents of the cost of each gallon of gas is due to taxes.

"With the growing financial strains placed on so many Americans -- rising food prices and falling home prices -- the additional rising fuel prices is becoming a breaking point. That's why my colleague, Senator John McCain talked about the need to do something and do something quickly and propose this gas tax holiday in comments that he made to the nation a couple days ago, and why he has asked this amendment be introduced on his behalf as well as Senators Warner, Burr, Martinez, Lieberman, and Graham. In an effort to ease some of the hardship caused by the higher fuel prices that I've indicated, the amendment would merely suspend the 18.4 cent per gallon tax on gas and the 24.4 cents per gallon tax on diesel fuel from Memorial Day to Labor Day. As I said, the amendment would not deplete the Highway Trust Fund balance. The amendment would offset any revenue loss from the suspension of this tax with treasury revenues. So the Highway Trust Fund will remain whole. We all agree that our roads and highways must be maintained to ensure safety of the road-traveling public, and this amendment would in no way impact highway construction."

Watch Senator Jon Kyl On The Senate Floor

John McCain, McCain Campaign Press Release - "In Case You Missed It": Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) Addresses John McCain's Gas Tax Holiday Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives