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. No McCain!

    Oil companies have 40 billion dollar profits! And a gas tax holiday? You've got to be kidding me!

    Obama '08!

    June 9, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. David in NC

    "That's not change we can believe in..."

    Its OK to be right June 9th, 2008 2:20 pm ET
    lets see…. $20. bucks saved in a month because of this gas tax gimmick or 4 million dollars a day saved from discontinuing an immoral war….. So tough to choose!!!

    Actually, it's around $1.5billion a day!

    Obama '08

    June 9, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Carol, San Luis Obispo, CA

    By his own admission finance is not his best subject. Some speech writer ought to tell him that a gas tax vacation only saves a few dollars per household and will result in an increased demand which will then drive up prices.

    Someone needs to give him a copy of "Supply And Demand For Dummies"

    He needs to ask Hillary how poorly the gas tax vacation floated with voters and how voters saw right through the sham.

    What a foolish old man.

    June 9, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. Mark Kahle

    $20 bucks for dinner? Ohhh ahhhh I can super size it in September...Wow, and maybe even add an apple pie...does this fool really think feeding a family of 3 or 4 on 20 bucks is going to really help?

    Politcial Pandering is what I call it....its NOT a solution, its not even close...

    Stop the war and save 4 mil a day....and see what happens to the economy when you can dump 4 mil per day into it rather than a war that is killing our young men and women, and was NEVER justified!!

    June 9, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. Mike,ct

    Why do you clinton people blame obama.

    Hillary and Obama voted not to couny Fla and Mich.thats was the rule

    If you go by the rules he still wins.

    Hillary have brain wash her supporter for 3 momth when she fell behind count FLA & MICH.

    Are you clinton support falling for McCain bloggers also.

    Obama done nothing wrong.

    Hillary campain did wrong.

    If you made withobama its because he is black not because he won.

    That the reason you say Im going for McCain.

    Fla & Mich should have been 50 0bama 50 Clinton she came out ahead.

    The gas price going up,war need to stop.

    Aso you all say you will vote McCain must not have a brother or sister fighting i do and i like them back home.

    Please vote Obama so they come home please.


    June 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Mike in Calgary

    Remember the I-35 Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis on AUgust 1st and how many people died and were injured because of deferred maintenance. Gas Taxes fund highway and bridge improvements. For the sake of $28,00, McCain would threaten the safety of families travelling the nations highways and would jeopardize the free flow of traffic and business in the country! John McCain is right – Economics (nor road safety) is his forte!

    Mike in Canada

    June 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Slected not Elected

    all the paid bloggers, Obama, his supporters, the DNC, the party elite, and the mainstream media have conspired to marginalize the millions of Democrats who have voted for Hillary, and they will now be using every trick in the book to "bring the party together" to further their ruthless ambitions. They will want you to forget all about the months of biased press, the biased party elite, the insults, the sexist remarks, and the race-cards. They will want you to forget that the Democratic Party now is the party that stands for disenfranchisement of the voters and the rationalization of racism. They will use any method to persuade you to vote for the man who they have preordained as the Democratic nominee. DON'T FALL FOR IT!

    June 9, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. dan

    For you Hilliary Supporters still talking about voting for McCain so Hilliary will be prez in 2012.

    Please dont forget that Obama supporters would not forget that, and us 18 million voters will be sure to return a favor.

    What goes around comes around. Please keep threatening.

    June 9, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. Cathy

    This gas tax holiday insulted my intelligence during the primaries and still insults my intelligence today.

    The only way to drive down the cost of gas is to cut into the oil companies million $$ profits. Americans need to figure out how to drive less...and reducing by all drives will effect the profits and lower costs in the long run. I now take public transportation and only drive on the weekend when I really want to or need to.

    They are predicting that gas will be $5.00 by July 4th....just great!!!!

    June 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. Lanny Davis

    Oh Jeez, he must be polling very badly to go there already. Tomorrow it will be guns and bitter, then Wright, then he will be out of bullets and have to throw his pistol at Obama before he scampers away ... OK carried away, but if McCain is scraping the bottom now, what does that mean for the next 5 months ... I am sure Obama can fill it with interesting ideas. Obama better just agree to a couple town halls and let this fossil fight for his own airtime.

    June 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. ENOUGH

    Hey – to all those still claiming to be clinton supporters that will vote for mccain – give it up, find someplace else to whine. No one cares about your temper tantrums – vote what's in your best interests, and if you choose to let bitterness guide your vote, then so be it – you'll end up paying the price with the rest of us. I honestly think those posters are gop spammers – no dem would be that ridiculous given the current situation in our country today.

    June 9, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. Niccole

    That was funny Mark Kahle.

    June 9, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. frank

    If this is such a great idea why isnt he in Congress making it happen. Its already summer!!!!

    June 9, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Eddie Parris

    I don't know if all you Hillary supporters realize this but 18 million people also voted for Obama.

    If you don't support Obama now how do you think those 18 million people will feel when it comes time for Hillary to throw her hat in the ring again.

    Do you think all 18 million of us are gonna say hey no problem about costing us the election because your supporters knee capped Obama and hey thanks for four more years of pain brought on by the republican miltia thats by the corporations for the corporations?

    No we won't play nice. We need each other. If you don't place nice expect the same when it comes time agian for Hillary to run.

    The only one that wins are the republicans. This is what they want so why would you give it to them?

    June 9, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. A Campaign Strategist for 115th St & Amsterdam Ave

    Bad idea John .... this is all fluff and hot exhaust air out of the tailpipe .... let it go my friend...

    June 9, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. DeeJam - Los Angeles

    McCain is a joke! Gas is hitting me hard too but this is rediculous. It's another pathetic attempt to reach out to those Hillary supporters who thought the gas tax was a good idea. I expect it to backfire on him as well.

    June 9, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    McCain is a lot more likely to get my vote if he calls for a permanent federal income tax holiday and quit robbing us all blind.

    June 9, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Todd

    It would be ignorant to ignore them if there were a hundred docs all saying you should get a heart transplant. Equally so to ignore the hundreds of economists who say the gas tac holiday won't actually work. Oh but the guy who admittedly doesn't understand economics as well as he should knows better...

    And don't believe that ALL the "clinton backers" who say they'll vote for McCain are truly her backers. It's rather likely they're Repubs in Dem clothing since the only way their boy can win is if the Dems are divided.

    June 9, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. DeeJam - Los Angeles

    I just read on here that they want to stay home instead of vote for Obama because of high gas prices. That's fine, but stay home after you put in your absentee ballot for Obama. It's not a smart decision to let McCain have this election based on prejudice and hate. I hope we as Americans are smarter than that.

    June 9, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. Len, Colorado

    Federal Gas tax is used to fund our infra structure. It pays for roads, bridges, and our transportation system. Were will the states get this money to continue fixing and improving roads in your community?

    John McCain has voted 100% with Bush this year, 95% in 2007 and 91% in 2006. (When he has voted). Check out the congressional web site and you can see his voting record. He will appoint conservative judges to the supreme court. He supports President Bush's wire tapping program.

    If you are a Hillary supporter (as I was) this is what you will get if you vote for McCain. Donot forget what has happened in the last 8 years under the Bush and Republican party!

    Do the right thing and vote for Senator Obama.....We need a positive change!

    June 9, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |



    NO OBAMA!!!!!!!

    June 9, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. Soba, Clifton, NJ

    Talk about elitist!! This guy thinks we cant afford to take our kids out to dinner. You dont need to feel sorry for us or our kids, Mr. McCain.

    June 9, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. islandtal

    McBush is very funny to think that $30 is enough to buy my kids school supplies. If he had taken the time to check, an 8th grade packet of supplies is about $64 and I cannot imagine what a 9th grade packet will be this Fall. A nice dinner! Wow... Is this man for real or what?

    For all you Hillary folks who are threatening to vote for McBush...go right ahead. Do you really think that's going to guarantee Hillary's win in 2012? I don't think so. When she decides to run again, don't you think she's ALSO going to need the other 18.1M of us who voted for Obama this year??

    We're all Democrats and McBush is a huge difference from what we stand for! Vote straight Democratic ticket in November!!!

    June 9, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. tidho

    Why did he stop?
    If he'd have kept pushing maybe it would be in place already.

    ...of course its still a bad idea. McCain is funding it from the transportation budget but their isn't a surplus there, we have bridges to repair and oil costs affect those areas too so even without this we'll have less infastructure improvement then before.

    June 9, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. TV


    McCain '08

    Keep our soliders in Iraq for 100 years!

    McCain '08

    Health Care only for those who can afford it

    McCain '08

    ( Remember McCain has government backed health care) he and republicans may say smaller government but they are the government. They are so used to fooling the American people and so many Americans are used to falling for the lies. They want you to beleive Obama is a terrorist and our enemies want him, but pay attention very closely....I would rather our enemies look forward to working with us than gathering millions chanting DEATH TO AMERICA. With Obama they see the possibility of speaking to an American president with sense. Put another war monger in the white house and see what happens.McCain WILL bring on WORLD WAR 3!

    June 9, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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