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. White Independent

    This man is an idiot. Cut gas prices by 5% so oil companies can raise it by 5%. He must have quite a bit of stock in Shell.

    May 1, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  2. Andrew

    Oil companies make 8 cents per gallon.
    Fed makes 18 cents per gallon.
    Which makes more sense?

    May 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. Wake up America!

    Well, he did say economics is not his thing. Proof positive this elitist is out of touch with the American People.

    Obama '08

    May 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. Foreign observer

    Education in the US is expensive and sometimes bad. People even don´t understand the basic math. 30 $ for 3 months to buy a 4 years term without future gaining perspective ! Really bad deal.

    May 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. Lynnette

    Here's the savings for me, keeping in mind that it would go from Memorial Day to Labor Day. That's approximately 3-1/2 months.
    I fill up my gas tank every other week [twice a month] and use 22 gallons to fill up the tank. So here goes.
    Federal taxes on gallon of gas $.185
    Number of gallons – 22.

    $.18.5 per gallon x 22 gallons = $4.07 per fillup
    $4.07 x 8 fillups = $32.56 total savingings

    How in the world is this amount going to help me? It's not even enough for half a tank of gas.

    May 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. voice of reason, NC

    at least he's trying to find something, a solution....which is more than what i can say about obama. rather pre occupied with winning and sending people under the bus.

    i won't vote for mccain that's for sure but i do admire the fact that he is trying to solve some real problems while running for office. the same can be said about hilary. in fact, her senate attendance is amazing while campaigning.

    obama is falling fast because people are seeing things like this. seeing him as a typical politician no more no less. problem is he took a holier than thou stance, therefore the falling distance is greater.

    May 1, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Chuck, Oregonians for Obama

    This does nothing for me personally. I use 25 gallons of gas every "2" weeks, that is a savings of $4.6 in that two weeks. Hmmm, I can afford another gallon of milk. Sen McCain needs to do a lot more that save me $9.20 a month. With the cost of groceries, utilities and gas I can not afford any vacations like camping this summer, guess I will have to pitch my tent in my back yard.

    May 1, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. gary

    HRC AND MCCAIN ARE RIGHT ABOUT THE FUEL. YOUR LITTLE BOY O.B. HAS NO KNOWLEDGE OR EVEN CARES ABOUT HELPING THE FUEL PROBLEM. HE IS ALL TALK. ATLEAST HRC AND MCCAIN ARE SHOWNIG SOLUTIONS AND PLANS. O.B. JUST WANTS THE WORLD TO WRAP AROUND HIM ,AND DO NOTHING ABOUT ANYTHING. HE JUST WANTS TO MAKE HISTORY WHERE HRC WANTS TO GET THINGS DONE. HE IS SUCH A BIG JOKE. GO HRC.

    May 1, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  9. Kevin, Illinois

    This is such a joke. The state of Illinois suffered tremondously due to the lost tax revenue, and this chucklehead governor of ours had to raise fees to make up some of the loss, which it didn't even dent. Obama's right

    May 1, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  10. Randal NYC

    I dont know about the rest of you. But Ill take Michael Bloomberg's word that:
    "It’s about the dumbest thing I’ve heard in an awful long time from an economic point of view."
    He didnt get that rich by not knowing about money.

    And Hillary has already made plans for the windfall tax
    And its only $30-$50

    May 1, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. GL

    How much is he getting from Big Oil in donations for his "unyielding support"? (Same for Hillary)

    Both just need to go away so we can get to fixing this country.

    May 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. bb

    Where is this country headed? Has anybody looked at the Globe Magazine which hit the news stands today. It showsHillery Clinton clinging to this young Muslim woman by the name of Huma Abedin with the title "Hillery Gay Love Scandal". A repeat of the Bill Clinton scandal when he was president. How disgusting and shameful. Should we not set higher standards for our oval office candidates?

    May 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. Chi4Obama

    Wow,
    McCain is proposing to save me a whopping .18 – .20 cents each time I fill up my gas tank over the summer. He definately gets my vote now.

    May 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  14. Doc

    Yeah its amazing to me to see this all go down. People are more worried about their candidate winning than resolution for the country to some of the worst times seen in this country since the depression era. This simple minded gas tax relief is that to NYC people not buying gas for a day. What do you think will happen tomorrow?????
    MC-Clinton (I got jokes) both thinks this is a good idea. Several economists have all shot the idea down as rehetoric. I will believe an economist before i do a politician of the old poltical machine. Oh yeah I would believe a politician of change who also diagreed with Mc Cain and Clinton, and who has announced today what he would do as opposed to his running mates.

    OB1 4 President (I can't even recognize McCain as a potential candidate not when he says this and you couple it with the war)

    May 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. merle 7

    A vote for Hillary is a vote for McCain. Bush didn't listen to anyone either,and look the disaster he created and have the nerve to blame it all on congress. A hillary or McCain administration would be the same.

    Obama 08!

    May 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. Tony B B.C.Mich

    iF THIS IS A HOLIDAY BREAK, IMAGINE WHAT THANKSGIVING AND X-MAS WILL LOOK LIKE?

    May 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  17. Mike,Iowa

    Maybe McCain should choose Hillary as his running mate....

    May 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Tom, St. Paul

    Either he doesn't understand economics, or he's betting that the voters don't!

    FOOLS FOR Mc CAIN!!

    May 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. JF in Sota

    While the savings to the average driver would be modest, the impact on the overally economy would be very beneficial. Truckers and farmers that spend thousands of dollars on fuel would be looking at significant savings. This translates into cheaper transportation costs and savings for businesses and would ease some of the worry of inflation to the overally economy. We are flirting with a recession NOW! Those of you throwing out your own personal savings to this plan are very short sighted and are not looking at the overall impact this could have. Go ask some of the truckers driving around the capitol and ask them if they want to see this go into affect!!

    Furthermore, these comparisons to Bush are comical. Do some homework and look at his record and then tell me he's like Bush!!

    Go McCain!!

    May 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. John

    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!!

    May 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. Nathaniel Holton

    If the voters of North Carolina and Indiana fall for the gas gimmick, then this country is in worse shape than I thought. I don't think it's going to happen though, people are smartening up and desire a better politics.

    May 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. MJM

    Is this site just for Obama supporters?

    Cutting the FEDERL gas tax for the summer is a good move. I'd like to see the state tax cut as well. There is close to $.38 in taxes on a gallon of gas! Low taxes is what America is all about. That's the American way.

    Then there's Obama. He wants to raise the Capital Gains Tax to 25-28 just because....

    May 1, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. Jack from Texas

    Edgar said:

    "LETS GET REAL PEOPLE AND USE OUR BRAINS AND NOT FALL FOR THIS SOUND GOOD POLITICS.

    OBAMA 08"

    Irony at its finest...

    May 1, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  24. Juliet

    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 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. NoBama

    Obama-Bots...stop with your Obama '08 posts. New polls show he is now in a deadheat with Hillary nationwide. His once huge lead has dwindled to nothing because every time he opens his mouth he says something dumb and every time a reporter asks him a tough question he gets all flustered.

    McCain's gas tax holiday is a dumb idea but he will still win 40+ states.

    May 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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