U.S. President Biden has called on Congress to temporarily refrain from charging nationwide excise duties on gasoline and diesel. He says he wants to meet Americans with that, now that energy prices are at an all-time high. Biden suggests a three-month break. “It doesn‘t completely remove the pain, but it would certainly help,” says the president.
The federal government charges about 18 cents per gallon of gasoline (almost 4 liters) excise duty, which is more than 24 cents for diesel. Compared to a year ago, fuel prices in the US rose sharply. Last year, Americans charged an average of about 3 dollars per gallon of gasoline, last week that price exceeded 5 dollars for the first time (that equates to 4.70 euros per 4 liters).
The proposal is part of a larger plan. For example, Biden also wants individual states to suspend their excise duties for three months. Some states, such as New York and Connecticut, have already set this up. He also calls on pump owners to lower the price of fuel. They missed out on a lot of income during the corona crisis and are now trying to make up for that damage by keeping prices artificially high.
It remains to be questioned whether Biden’s plan will get off the ground. Democrats in Congress are skeptical and economists also have their reservations.
What is striking is that in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama described temporary fuel excise cuts as a trick, with which politicians can show voters that they have done something. Biden became Vice President under Obama.
Last March, Biden also tried to bring down oil prices. He then announced that he released roughly 1 million barrels of oil from the reserves every day for six months.