Wicker Backs Comprehensive Plan to Lower Gas Prices

Summer-long gas tax “holiday” a good start

April 21, 2008

With the busy summer travel season right around the corner and gas prices nearing $3.40 in some parts of Mississippi, urgent action is needed to help provide financial relief for those struggling with high prices at the gas pump.

Our nation’s dependence on foreign oil has unfortunately made high gas prices a reality for too long.  In order to keep their cars on the road, families feeling pain at the pump are forced to cut spending elsewhere, and small business owners and farmers are increasingly feeling the pinch, too. 

I support a comprehensive energy strategy that includes increased domestic production, conservation, and alternative and renewable fuels in order to provide long-term relief for record energy costs.  There are, however, measures that I believe can help provide immediate and temporary financial relief.  

                                           GAS TAX HOLIDAY
Last week, I announced my support for a proposal to provide a three-month gas tax “holiday” by temporarily suspending the federal gas tax in order to help lower the cost at the gas pump.  The federal gas tax adds 18.4 cents to a gallon of gas and 24.4 cents to a gallon of diesel fuel. 

Implementing this gas tax moratorium from Memorial Day through Labor Day would drop the cost of gasoline for families, small business owners and farmers during the busy summer months when demand is typically at its highest.  By putting extra money in the pockets of consumers, these savings would act as an additional round of economic stimulus to help give our economy a needed boost.   

                                   COMPREHENSIVE PLAN NEEDED
While I believe a temporary gas tax reduction would help provide some immediate relief over the summer, it certainly isn’t the complete answer to our long-term energy problems.  The price of gasoline is dictated by a number of forces that are largely out of our control in the short run.  With energy demand growing here at home and skyrocketing in places like India and China, it is no wonder crude oil prices are hitting record highs.  The law of supply and demand still holds true.

We need to do a better job of immediately increasing our production of energy here at home while investing in alternative and renewable energy sources.  I support drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the Outer Continental Shelf in the deep waters off our coast.  I also believe we can diversify our future energy supply through the use of alternative and renewable energy.  A good example of this potential is the conversion of coal to low-cost and environmentally friendly liquid fuel.  This is being done now in Mississippi, and with our vast coal reserves, our state can become a key player in the future of coal-to-liquid fuel. 

                                       IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED
In order to provide relief for Mississippians at the gas pump, we need to take immediate steps to provide financial relief now and in the future.  Our national and economic security depends on it, and as your U.S. Senator, I will continue working toward that goal.