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. Nunya

    It is a bad, stupid thing to do. Lowering the price wil increase the demand for it, and you will see very little if any difference in what you pay for gas. You won't save the pitiful $25 and you will pay more in car repairs because the gas tax funds road repairs. Of course, most people don't understand the concept of penny-wise, pound-foolish any more, but at least you would hope that the presidential candidates would be smarter than the average...

    May 1, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  2. Ilona Proud Canadian


    google................Paul vs Clinton

    google.................paul vs clinton

    google.................Paul vs Clinton

    google.................paul vs clinton


    May 1, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. Bob, Seattle

    Give the relief where it will affect all Americans the fastest and the greatest. Allow all trucking companies tax credits on diesel fuel for 25% of their useage. That will keep the price of all goods from increasing due to the cost of transportation. This will in turn provide more savings than any gas tax savings for the folks at the pump.

    May 1, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  4. After further review,Texas

    Nationalize the oil companies.

    May 1, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  5. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Bloomberg say that would
    be only a temporary fix but would take money away from repairing our crumbling bridges and infrastructures. Don't you remember, People were driving off into the sunset into Lake Superior onto their deaths? Or did you forget, already?
    And, if we continue in the war in Iraq, and possible bomb Iran-Obliberate them as Hillary said on National T.V., With the Debt of the war.Do we have anything left? No. and we owe China 10 Billion with
    interest. Is our Country gone, yet?

    May 1, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  6. ShannonL

    You people don't think deep enough...
    You people don't know what this really is...

    Ok...for you morons....

    100,000,000 americans drive saving 50 dollars over the summer.
    That is 5 billion dollars.

    American's have not stopped driving, they have stopped spending in other places.

    This economic package from the economy...5 billion dollars will be put back into our summer economy because of this.

    YES...that money is lost tax revenue...
    but if you are not complaining about the tax rebates...then you have nothing to complain about here.

    May 1, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  7. R2

    Hillary: I will obliterate Iran.
    McCain: I will stay in Iraq for 100 years and bomb Iran.

    You decide '08

    May 1, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
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