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

McCain unyielding in call for gas tax relief

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. I have spoken

    Lower the price of gas you idiot! Start with that!

    May 1, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  2. justsayit4u

    The Holiday Tax break is a joke. Even if gas is decreased by 18 cent per gallon, it will to stop the oil companies from increasing the fuel prices. If the holiday tax was imposed on May 5 and gas is decreased by .18, the gas companies will increase their prices by May 9.

    Oil prices has to be regulated. Oil companies are recording record earning at a time when the economy is at its weakest. Something has to give.......

    Obama 08......justsayingit4u Mississippi.....

    May 1, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  3. Steve

    If we really want to off-set the price of gas lets all go on strike May, 2, and not buy any gas for that day. If they really wanted to save energy why not stop the US Postal Service from Saturday mail delivery. Make saturday a nation holiday for the truck drivers. We could really save gas if we really wanted to!


    May 1, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |


    Give taxpayers $30 dollars in tax savings to SHUT THEM UP!

    May 1, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. MD

    This is why McStupid should not be elected as anything, let alone as the president. Actually, at the next election, the good people of Arizona should replace him in the senate.

    He is just as stubborn as Bush. Even after he admitted he doesn't know anything about economics, and yet comes up with a "plan," which economists say is a stupid plan, he still doesn't yield.

    May 1, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  6. Teddy

    McCain's market based economic and health care plans are not attactive when economy is not good. When time is tough, a lot of people want help from governments, instead of standing up on their own. Therefore, McCain needs to propose something to show he indeed care about lower income people. He knows the gas tax holiday idea will not be adopted. Even Bush rejected it. Clinton is politically savy enough to propose a similar idea. Therefore, Obama is put on defensive on the issue. Maybe he should also propose something new, but different, to put Clinton and McCain.

    Obama has been on defensive in the past several weeks.

    Maybe McCain's market based appoaches are better. But the ideas will be tough to sell this tough year. You should expect McCain's campain to try to direction discussions to some small policy differences like the gas tax holiday. This general election will be determined by economy discussions. Both Obama (Clinton too) and McCain will be very careful on the Iraq issue. Obama (or Clinton) does not want to remind people he (she) is not experienced enough in national security issues while McCain knows Iraq war is not popular at all. No one knows who will actually benefit talking Iraq.

    There are differences on a lot of big issues. But they will be careful on those issues. For instance, they have a huge difference on the abortion issue, but they all want to avoid the topics.

    Therefore, you will see a lot of fighting on the small issues like gas tax holiday.

    May 1, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. canuck

    This may appeal to those who need instant gratification. what i don't understand is, McCain suggest you drive a little further. To where might i ask, when you fill your tank to drive to a nice campsite on a crumbling highway, buy some slurpees for the kids and have nothing left to pay for the site. you can only make a weak dollar stretch so far.

    Chuck, Oregonians for Obama makes a good point.

    i'd like to point out that when you go to buy food ie: cereal, coffe, etc. prices go up, then for a week, select items go "on sale" while they raise prices on other items. then a week later, those items go "on sale" to previous prices and the so called bargains are only temporary to hide the spike in the "new price". in the long run, our need for lower prices increases the demand on certain things, hence the price goes up . same thing with gas.

    May 1, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. RB

    Isn't this the McSame who said it was not a good idea to bail out homeowners, but it was OK to bail out the investors who made a bad investment in the companies that invested in the mortgages of the homeowners??? Hmmm. Well, who's going to pay the mortgage on all those foreclosed homes? Doesn't he know that if homeowners can't pay the mortgage, the companies that invested in the mortgages can't make money, and the people who invested in the companies can't make money! Seems elementary to me that you'd want to help the ones who support the entire system: the homeowners!! And, this is the best the repubs have to offer?? Bring it!

    May 1, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  9. Shannon

    I'm not a McCain supporter, Hillary gets my vote, but I love how Obama trashes this idea, it's a small amount of money he says, unimportant. I guess when you don't have to worry about money, it's ok to be condescending. Lucky Obama. Well, I say it's something while we try to work out more long term solutions. Obama's solution was to give big oil a tax break when he voted for the Cheney Energy bill. Which is better, a little money in our pockets, our a tax break for big oil. We know which one Obama agrees with.

    May 1, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. RB

    Isn't this also the McSame who is preaching about supporting our troops, but won't sign on to an education bill because it will cost $2B. Well, McSame, what do you say we take a week off from Iraq? That will more than cover the cost. Is he saying our kids are good enough to die for their country, but not good enough to educate!?

    May 1, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  11. Ian

    So if the price of gas is ever increasing shouldn't one deduce that this is not a good plan? And where is the money going to come from when we can no longer afford to fix our roads?

    Is no one else furious that we are spending billions of dollars a day repairing Iraq's roads, buildings, and bridges while ours are falling apart????

    May 1, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Chris in Va.

    So John, there are 25 days left until Memorial day. Do you have so much power as to get this scheme enacted by then, or are you simply pandering (lying) to the American people for votes. The ball is now in your court, it's one or the other.

    May 1, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. Jack in ND

    It's the stupidest ideas that are clung to with the most tenacity.

    May 1, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  14. James in Oregon

    Looks like John and Hillary have been smoking out of the same pipe.

    May 1, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  15. Dan (TX)

    What will the politicians give us next year when gasoline is $6/gallon? A rebate based on consumption? 🙂

    May 1, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. Ken

    McPinhead: Vote for me, and I'll cut your taxes by giving you $0.25 back for every gallon of gas you buy, while I continue to implement policies that will raise it by $1.00. I know what's best for you - I spent time in a POW camp.

    Obama-bots: Its Hillary's fault. Wait, what are we talking about.......? God those Hillary people are hateful ..... I hate everyone of them.

    NOTICE TO THE PEOPLE - My god, the price of a gallon of gas is about to exceed your average IQ, with or without the fed. gas tax. Get a grip.

    May 1, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |

    “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.”

    Does this guy even have a clue!? EVERY financial analyst has said that this is CRAP!! Obama is doing his best to tell us the Truth, but there are those that fall for ANYTHING! I am no great mathematician, but I tried to tell you guys in these blogs that this SAVINGS don't amount to much of NOTHING! What on the avage you will save $9 bucks a month? Then prices goes back up, but get this even higher!! Give me a REALBREAK save the BS, it's bad enough we have to go through this mess must we have some RICH ELITIST SNOBS throw pennies at our feet in disguise of a win-fall.



    I hate people BSing me!!

    May 1, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  18. Jodie from Idaho

    Are people actually voting for this retard? Where are your medical records? Lets play John Hagee's comments over and over on the TV. If America elects this guy than you are all dumber than I thought. Not to mention gullable. Wake up! YOu will only save $30 with this plan, and that $30 adds up in the government especially since that is the money used to build our roads and bridges. Oh right! We should be paying to build Iraq's roads and bridges, but not ours. Gotcha. I wondered why i worked so hard. Seriously! Has everyone already forgotten about what happened to the bridge in Minnesota?

    May 1, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  19. Beervana

    Obamination..............Hilidiot.....McSame/McShame/McLame........good golly miss molly.....I'd say the good ole US of A is in fer a rough ride.................yeehaw

    May 1, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  20. Free Handouts

    For the love of God, I don't want to be taxed MORE to pay for YOUR healthcare. Sorry but you are not entitled to my money!

    May 1, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  21. zelda gross

    Jeusus loves the sinner but hates the sin. This man is a SINNER with the biggest of them. This is just another sin. Why continue paying his oil friends millions and act like a few dollars in gas is going to make a big difference? How is the goverment supposed to maintain roads. I don't even drive very much so how will this help me? You have to stop robbing from the poor and giving to the rich!

    May 1, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  22. DHW


    No one dies a Republican. In the end they fear a God that's bigger than themselves. They start out as Democrats when the world is fresh, and they think about others, which is a good thing. Then slowly, they start believing that they're better than everyone else, make a little money, follow in Karl Rove's footsteps...until one day they say "hey I don't need anybody, I'll be a Republican. They skate threw life like a charm, it's me and only me and that's it.

    Then they start getting old. They start thinking...I mean really thinking about their lives, and just before they are about to meet their maker. Wow, they don't want to hedge their bets. So they slowly start thinking about other people and before you know it, they're Democrats again. Just in the nick of time–and then they're gone.

    May 1, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  23. Jocely

    I want be surprise if they were to elect McCain after all they elected george Bush twice because the american like the idea of a president who like to pretend our country is safer when we go to war, increase the deficit tremendously than cut tax while they are doing it, forget about the economy, healthcare, housing crisis, education which are the core of keeping our nation economy and what makes America the great leader of the world. Should we vote the republican again I think we should go to rehab after that.

    North Carolina

    May 1, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  24. Chris in Va.

    I support the right of Cam of Kentucky to post his post above(see 4:33)
    The first amendment provides the right of every American to open his mouth and prove he is an idiot.

    May 1, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  25. Chris in Va.

    i support the right of Cam of Kentucky to post his post here (see 4:33). The first amandment provides the right of every American to open his mouth and prove he's an idiot.

    May 1, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
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