June 9th, 2008
01:50 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain resurrects call for gas tax holiday


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/28/art.mccain1.ap.jpg caption=" McCain regularly called for a gas tax holiday in April and May."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - With gas prices reaching a national average of four dollars a gallon - a record high - John McCain is planning to resurrect his call for a national gas tax holiday, which became a staple of his stump speech in late April and early May.

A McCain aide told CNN's Dana Bash on Monday that the Arizona senator planned to plug the gas tax holiday in public statements throughout the day as a message to voters that he understands the plight of working families in a tough economy.

Before a fundraiser in Richmond, Virginia on Monday, McCain mentioned the gas tax holiday in remarks to a smaller event for about 40 high-dollar donors. "That was derided by Sen. Obama and others as a gimmick," McCain said, but added that working people and truckers would appreciate it.

"I don't pretend that it's an answer to our energy problems," he said.

Gas prices have risen more than 10 percent from $3.671 a month ago and are nearly 29 percent higher than the $3.105 average a year ago, according to AAA figures.

McCain's original gas tax holiday proposal called for suspending the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Hillary Clinton supported a similar proposal during her Democratic primary bid.

Along with Barack Obama, many economists largely dismissed the notion of a gas tax holiday as a political ruse that would do little to lower prices, but McCain has repeatedly said he does not believe the proposal would be a panacea for America’s energy woes.

Instead, McCain argued, low-income families could save some extra cash to pay for their children’s school supplies this fall, or perhaps treat themselves to a nice dinner.

UPDATE: Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan blasted McCain for continuing to push the plan.

"By touting a gas tax holiday as part of his proposal for economic recovery in Virginia today, Senator McCain proved he was right when he said he doesn't understand the economy as well as he needs to," he said in a statement emailed to reporters.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. pmn

    yeah ok mccain, aren't you the same guy who said people should cancel their vacations and take on a second job to make ends meet in this economy? give me a break for real.

    June 9, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. robb

    As a "Republican" who is tired of war, I was thinking of crossing sides this time around PROVIDED that Hillary was not the nominee. Talk about someone I can't trust, she takes the cake and proved it time and again during her campaign. So, I still have an option on the table. Obama or McCain. I'm going to let this thing play out for a while.

    I vote the ISSUES, not the person.

    CNN – I suggest you screen these comments more closely. Posting mindless rants are a waste of resources. You should discourage it.

    June 9, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Sam

    If not Romney, then Obama.

    Never Mccain!

    Obama '08

    June 9, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. 24 white male Louisville KY

    What is wrong with you people who say you won't vote for Obama? Seriously what is the deal? He's a likeable guy and ran a brilliant campaign.

    June 9, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Mk

    well yes why don't we lower gas so the oil companies can fill the gap by raising prices. I would much rather give them more of my money and put hundreds of highway workers out of a job (NOT) Why on earth should we consider a long term permanent solution. We can just keep relying on our enemies to supply oil to us. This is the McCain gas solution?????tShhhhhhhhhhhessssssssssssh....this idea is as old as McCain. I wonder how forward thinking his other economic policies will be. The words President McCain are terrifying.

    June 9, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Mk

    How can you be pro choice, pro gay and think about voting for McCain????????????.....he is opposed to the your list of pros.
    He is opposed to everything you say you are in favor of.

    June 9, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. Benito

    He must have fallen and forgotten that he was down this road before. Both him and Hillary we thrown under the truth bus for it.

    June 9, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. Neil

    Since everybody else seems to be making ignorant and idiotic statements...thought I'd make one of my own.

    Any poster saying they were Hillary supporters and now will vote for McCain is obviously a Republican imposter.

    For the true feminists supporting McCain – Imagine the irreparable harm you do your cause when Obama wins without your support and you become irrelevant. Seems like the ladies need a little lesson in politics.

    June 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. question

    what are you all crying about......wait until the election is over and obama starts to raise your taxes for all the wonderful new programs he has for you...you wanted change...change comes with a price tag....called more taxes....so you can forget about the nice little dinner or the kids school supplies, you will all have to cancel your vacations and get a second job to support the people in washington..they are going on a spending spere, ha ha........

    June 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. you said, they said

    I can't believe anyone will vote for or against a candidate because of what someone said on the internet ... let me give it a try:



    yep, I just supported all candidates and attacked all candidates, what do you base your vote on now? please people think for yourself, put some intelligence into your vote, I do know one thing that is for sure, the economy needs a boost, one way or another!

    June 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. neil

    I see McCain is endorsing the Chinese government's energy policy: subsidize gasoline purchases! Apparently free-market conservatives see this as a good use of our tax dollars - use them to trick people into thinking gas is cheaper during an election year. Well, McCain might not know much about the economy, but he sure does know politics.

    June 9, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. wait a minute

    True, the tax savings may be small, but it won't be for low income families. It will be larger for long distance commuters.

    June 9, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. Chipster

    But what does McCain want to do long term to solve the energy crisis?

    Drill, drill, drill? We cannot possibly drill our way out of the situation because there are no more dinosaurs! Oil, coal, and natural gas are not renewable. When the supplies have been exhausted, there will be no more. We can poison the seas, melt the Arctic Circle, damage pristine areas that are so fragile they will never recover....but it will not renew the limited oil supplies.

    We must develop alternative sources of energy and we must invest in it NOW! We owe it to our children and generations to come. Ignore the corporate thieves. We need Democrats in the White House and both chambers of congress.

    June 9, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. CE, Wisconsin, USA

    Let them eat cake!

    June 9, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. Bill Stapp

    If Senator McCain is such a strong advocate of the gas tax holiday, why doesn't he quit talking about it and just make it happen. Could it be that the Congress which has spent the future is US$9,000,000,000,000 in debt? And it has unfunded mandates of US$50,000,000,000,000 for federal pensions, Medicare, and social security.

    The money is gone, folks. The only way to get it back is to raise taxes, or cut spending. Gee... which one will Congress choose.

    Basically, our national leaders taxed us to fund some benefits...then they spent the money on other cool stuff, and now they will have to tax us again to provide the same benefits because the money is gone.

    Fortunately, President Bush just announced that he knows his fellow Americans are struggling. And he understands why.

    June 9, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. cmoore

    Drill here drill now, period. The liberals protecting a spotted owl has driven up our gas prices and the Arabs are laughing. Obama has no plan and neither do the tree hugginhg liberals. They have no answer for the gas price problem because they are the problem!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 9, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. Daniel So Cal

    Let's see the federal gas tax funds the highway infrastructure which inturns employs people who fix the infrastructure, thus, if youi suspend the gas tax you are suspending funds that would go to fix the highway bridges, etc. and also the pay for those workers who do the job. I've heard nothing that will offset these drop in revenues.

    June 9, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. SUE IN CT

    I can't believe there are so many tunnel visioned people who whine about Hillary's defeat and threaten to vote for McCain who will follow in the footsteps of his dear friend Bush and his moronic policies. Be prepared for no end in sight to the Iraq war, an ever shrinking economy, trodding on women's rights, etc. etc.

    Hilary now says "Yes We Can!" Why can't you do the same?"

    June 9, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Fitz

    Oh lord some of you are just dumb dumb dumb. I am now totally convinced some of these post are by Repub's especially the Obama attacks. I have watched CNN like a man possessed the entire campaign and I have yet to hear of the things people say Obama is guilty of saying or the campaign.

    Shameful what some people will do. Again let some of the HRC voters go for McCain, not all of them will least not the smart ones.

    June 9, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Concerned in VA

    Make it stop!! Why would Hillary supporters vote for John MCcain? Ya'l ldon't care about your children, friends, or yourselves, but will be the main ones complaining when things in this country continue to go awry. This is plain spite because your candidate did not win. Someone had to win and someone had to lose. Obama won period. He did not cheat. He won the most delegates ,which is the point of the democratic primary. He was disregarded and underestimated which is why Hillary lost. She didn't plan for a primary, only the general and made light of her opponent. The primary is over and now we as democrats need to unite, unless you truly want to this country to truly remain in the economic crisis that it is currently in. I don't think you really do. Stop looking at skin color and look at issues. You are either going to be part of the problem or part of the solution. The choice is yours. I have watched the republicans ruin this country and I will not sit idly by and watch it happen again if I want a future for myself and children.

    Concerned and so should you.

    June 9, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. RMB

    A gas tax holiday won't lower prices for the consumers...the oil companies will be keeling over from joy–THEY won't have to pay the gas tax and WE will continue paying outrageous prices.

    A gas tax holiday only benefits big oil; anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves.

    June 9, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. Scott, Wichita

    So what if it doesn't do much, I'd love to have a nice steak at the end of the summer!

    June 9, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. dan

    I am a republican, and will certainly vote for McCain in November. I do not, however, agree with the "gas holiday". It would save many American's some money, but would take much-needed funding away from the roads and bridges that keep our country moving. A well defined short and long term energy policy for the United States is the best solution to the ever-increasing gas prices.

    June 9, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. ndlily

    One nice dinner! It's going to take more than one nice dinner to solve this crisis. If you look up the word panderer in the dictionary, you'll see John McCain's picture.

    June 9, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Benito

    to seamore hmmmm i would think it was the republicans like McBush and Bushain that took us into Iraq and now we are funding a never ending war. Let's use that $$$$$ for some relief PUTO!

    June 9, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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