May 1st, 2008
03:18 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain unyielding in call for gas tax relief

John McCain said there should be a federal gas tax holiday.

John McCain said there should be a federal gas tax holiday.

CLEVELAND, Ohio (CNN) - John McCain continued his push Thursday for a federal gas tax holiday that would eliminate the 18.4-cents-per-gallon gas tax and 24.4-cent diesel tax during the summer travel season.

McCain is framing the gas tax debate as a simple choice between helping working families or continuing to stifle their income with high prices at the pump.

“The lamentations of people about the draconian consequences of giving Americans just a little relief for the summer continues to amaze and amuse me,” McCain said at a press conference here, after touring the Cleveland Clinic to learn about new health information technology.

“I’d like to see families in America have a relief from ever increasing costs of gasoline,” he said, “so maybe at the end of the summer after this tax holiday they could buy school supplies for their children as they start the school year.”

Despite a chorus of criticism from independent experts who believe a gax tax holiday amounts to nothing more than ploy for votes that will do little to address long-term energy concerns, McCain and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton have held firm in their calls for a temporary suspension of the tax.

Barack Obama opposes the plan, calling it a “gimmick” and arguing that it would divert revenues away from crucial infrastructure maintenance nationwide. The Republican National Committee took Obama to task for that position Thursday, releasing a Web ad calling him a hypocrite on the issue because he once supported a gas tax holiday while a state senator.

In many ways, the debate over summer gas tax relief is moot, because none of the presidential candidates would take office until next January. But the back-and-forth has given each candidate a means to appeal to voters concerned with high fuel prices.

McCain said as president he would pay for a gas tax holiday with “general revenues” and the removal of needless pork barrel projects and earmarks from government spending bills.

The Arizona Republican dismissed analysts and critics of the gas tax holiday as out of touch with working Americans who are often forced to drive long distances to work.

“Some of wealthiest people live a very short distance to where they work,” he said. “They live in Georgetown. Some of the people who do really hard work and are low income people live as far as 40 or 50 miles away, and they drive older automobiles. It’s time to give them a little break.”


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (182 Responses)
  1. jeff

    Clinton and McClain's tax moratorium is a joke. I buy about 20 gallons of gas a week. If they suspend the 18.4 cent tax during the 12 weeks in the summer months, I will save a whopping total of $44.16!
    Be real! The government needs the $44.16 more than I do. Take it and invest it in alternate energy research.

    50 year old college educated white Texan for Obama.

    May 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Enough

    This is the same type of snow job we've seen from bush over the last 7+ years. I wonder if he thinks it's worth it to sacrafice his credibility and principles for the gop nomination. "Maverick" – what a joke.

    May 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. Dave

    Have fun when your plan gives us $5/gallon gas when summer's over. Just in time for the general election.

    May 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Uncle Sam

    What American wants is a presidential candidate who loves his country enough to be attacked by both conservatives and liberals.

    Americans for Mccain '08

    May 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. Spider

    Clinton and McCain have both suggested the "tax vacation" as a short term relief from the high cost of gas, during the summer vacation season. Hillary, however, has suggested a tax increase for the oil companies at the same time, to maintain the funds for highway repair/improvement. She also has suggested long term solutions to the problem.
    Obama just brushes this off his shoulder, tells us this is just old Washington politics. "This wouldn't work. Might just end up costing more. We need some change."
    So, Barack, you want to stop any small short term relief for the American people in favor of a long term solution. But, I don't hear any ideas from you on either, short or long term.
    Barack Obama's whole campaign has been, "We need a change. We can make a change." But, he never tells us his plans for that change.

    May 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Gas Tax Gimmick

    Do the math senator McCain! If the average driver drives 1,000 miles per month and gets roughly 20 miles per gallon, that equates to 50 gallons of gas per month.

    Waving the 0.184 federal tax for 3-months will save the average driver (50 gallonx x 0.184) $9.20 per month. Do you really think that savings will pay for a holiday trip?

    No intelligent analyst is fooled by the gas tax gimmick: it will do more harm than good with lost highway projects, major delays in project completions and lost jobs.

    Why would anyone want to elect a person to the presidency who is so grossly inempt as to propose such a Gas Tax Gimmick?

    May 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. anon

    TO ALL THE OBAMA SUPPORTERS:

    Since the media is refusing to reveal/report the Paul vs Clinton fraud case in court right now, we need to create our own movement and flood every blog on CNN and every blogging website on the World Wide Web with information from the case regardless of what the topic is. For those that don't know – Google Paul vs Clinton and hold on to your shirt with what you read!!

    OBAMANACS UNITE!!! LET'S DO THIS!!

    May 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Donald from SC

    Hey Mary,

    Can you teach Senator McCain and his campaign folks logic? It seems that he has missed that basic principle that you just gave.

    May 1, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Dave

    This guys beginning to scare me.

    May 1, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Mike - Texas

    Put together a comprehensive ENERGY POLICY that includes;

    1) building more refineries
    2) allow jour companies to drill offshore where other nations are currently drilling
    3) build nuclear power plants
    4) allow drlling in AWNR
    5) allow drilling in Colorado

    Our reserves in ANWR, Colorado, and offshore are greater that that of Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia combined. And congress will not allow us to drill there.

    Punishing oil companies with a 7%, yes I said 7%, profit margin which is below the industry average in this country is sheer stupidity.

    May 1, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. Mike

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU JOHN MCCAIN!
    First of all, do your research, the oil companies are making the same percentage profit they made 10 years ago, your slander only shows your ignorance. Second of all, every cent counts. This shows Obama's isolation from middle America and how he doesnt understand how 20 bucks a month can make a difference, thats a cell phone bill right there! Time to grow up Obama supporters
    The honeymoon is over, welcome to earth.

    May 1, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. BobW

    I favor Clinton since Obama just doesn't have the experience yet. He should be resigned to be Hillary's VP. However, I like his stance on the gas tax. All that Bush's 2001? Tax rebate, and most likely the 2008 tax rebate and then a possible gas tax break will do is put us in more debt. We had a balanced budget and the debt was being paid off real quick when Bill Clinton was in office. We need to reverse this trend quick most of our money is simply being put into paying off the interest on the national debt. Hillary should make Bill her economic advisor – this may be her weakest area.

    May 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. OlvrWhit

    For you headline reading bloggers, you really don't know what Hillary's plan is. Her gax tax holiday would be payed for by a windfall tax on the huge profits of the oil companies. Obama is misleading people on the stump when he claims it would cost jobs and take money from infrastructure. Hillary has a plan to cover this. Plus, this is a non-issue as niether of the three will be in a position to deal with this until January.

    However, please know someone's plan before you bash it. I think its time the oil companies had to pay. If you look at Hillarys overall plan, it also calls for investigations into why the oil companies are making so much money as the price of gas goes up. This is a fighter, willing to take on the big boys.

    May 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Thank You Democrats

    Why do you think the Republicans have been voting for Clinton after their primary was decided? There is so much dirty and nasty politics that can be brought about about Billary. If you think Rev. Wright is bad, then everyone must have forgotten about the Billary years in the White House. The Republicans have done a perfect job and will end up winning a election that they had no right to win. Keep the fighting Democrats all the way to the convention. Don't give up Hillary.
    If I was a democrat, I would give up and sit out this year's election. I heard if Clinton wins, she will ban all cigars in the D.C. area and Bill will have to wear a body suit without a zipper.

    Thank You Democrats.

    May 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. Alonzo Demetrius

    I agree with any little bit of relief that is possible. I think that the states should also give relief, as well as other government involvements such as possibly counties, cities.

    May 1, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  16. Huey Long

    When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When all you are is a Republican, everything looks like a tax break.

    McCain has no real answers to fix the economy, so this is the only thing he can come up with.

    Obama '08

    May 1, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. priscilla from new jesey

    ok now the gas is too high the food is getting high to what do they want from us. we should be able to control how much gas is. gas wasnt high then but they say there isnt much oil left thats y its so high they say which 1 is it because the money we spend everyday these oil companies are makin like 20 billion dollars and what are they doing with this money?

    May 1, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. Docb

    This is a gimmick to lure voters and I never thought I would see McCain stoop to the same level as Clinton -oh–she jumped on his bandwagon..That's not new.

    May 1, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. Tony, Rochester NY

    If "ordinary" Americans believe this plan will work and actually fall for this, then ordinary Americans are dumb. It makes sense complete sense then that those (rightly) speaking out against the plan are out of touch with "ordinary," Americans. It's times like these that I finally realize how we ended up with such a dumb president for the last eight years.

    May 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. R.I.F.

    Mike May 1st, 2008 4:46 pm ET

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU JOHN MCCAIN!
    First of all, do your research, the oil companies are making the same percentage profit they made 10 years ago, your slander only shows your ignorance. Second of all, every cent counts. This shows Obama's isolation from middle America and how he doesnt understand how 20 bucks a month can make a difference, thats a cell phone bill right there! Time to grow up Obama supporters
    The honeymoon is over, welcome to earth.
    ____________________________________________________

    And that cell phone will be cut off the after the gas tax holiday is over because that "holiday" will drive up the cost of gas sue to the increase in demand during the "holiday"
    Ever take Econ 101? If not, try gooling "gas tax" and you can read from about 1000 articles from every economist why this is a bad idea. Stop taking everything so perssonal everyone and research things yourself.

    May 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. NickNas

    Stupid is as Stupid does. How Bush like. Experts say it is a BAD IDEA but he wants to do it anyway. Sound femiliar?

    May 1, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. Tony B B.C.Mich

    What is the 18.4 cents..... what will that cover? The fumes of gas?........................................... This is Outrageous and Offensive!!!!!........ Get it together McCain.........................................Huhnnnnn!

    May 1, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. David in Illinois

    Hillary has a plan for everything, doesn't she? Ugh. How about coming up with a plan to be optimistic, to tell the truth, to not "move the goal post" every day, to not have a campaign wallowing in debt and then say she has tremendous economic experience.
    The gas tax holiday is a pandering nonsolution gimmick for somebody who touts real solutions for nation.
    Hillary and Bill CANNOT legitimately win the nomination. They should exit the stage immediately.

    May 1, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. Rick

    wow, i just calculated it, its a savings of 38 dollars, wow, maybe I can go eat at Mcdonalds with my family of 6.

    May 1, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. wyliffe

    When it comes to economy McCain simply doen't get it

    May 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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