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. Dominic


    You attitude is idiotic, self defeating, plainly adolescent – there was a tough fight, someone won, someone lost, both fought against inherent prejudice. After 17 long long months, one set of supporters is heartbroken, one set is delirious with relief as much as pride in their candidate.

    Mc Cain himself is probably a good person. However, this is not the same Mc Cain as we knew only a year or so ago, he has swung dangerously to the right. He's not even in power yet – imagine what he'll be like when he gets in with those conniving scumbags that will be working behind teh scenes.

    Hillary asked you to work for Obama – if you truly support her ideas and ideology like you claim, you will vote for Obama.

    June 9, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. Adam

    Decrease price consumers pay –> Increased consumer demand –> Prices rise making tax holiday negligible

    June 9, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Debbie,NJ

    If Obama doesn't win because Dems stay home, vote for McCain or write in Hillary, you better bet she won't win in 2012. We will make sure of it. What goes around comes around, haven't you people learned that yet. Its the nasty tactics that made her lose the primary. Hopefully Hillary has learned and better tell her people if they want her to have a shot of winning in 2012 they better vote for Obama because for the simple fact that he is the Nominee and he's a Dem.

    June 9, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. JJ

    McCain needs to give this gas gimmick alone! How on earth can he can guarantee that the oil companies won't raise the price once this holiday is over? He can't and there is no way .28 cents a day will help me. This country needs a long term strategy not a failed short termed one.

    June 9, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA



    June 9, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. Happily Independent

    A gas tax holiday does not work. Once you remove the tax, the gas stations will raise the price to where the price was before. The gas tax is used to fix our roads and bridges. When you remove the tax, you will be putting thousands of construction workers out of work or you are going to take move from the general fund and put us into more debt. It is not a good idea. I want good roads and bridges. It is not the tax it is the price of gas that is the problem.

    June 9, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Anita from Arizona

    Not one Hillary supporter switching to McCain can tell me they are basing their vote on the ISSUES... NOT ONE... What a waste of a vote. Be clear and educated to the facts and cast your vote wisely or stay home.

    June 9, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. A Campaign Strategist for 115th St & Amsterdam Ave

    John –

    Your an experienced US Senator that has not been engaged in a primary fight for 2 / 3 months now?

    I won't critisize the merits of this "gas tax holiday" here although the lack of support from knowledgible economists should trouble all of us.

    What I'd like to know is, given that you, at least , believe that it is a "SOLUTION" for the American people, what have you done with all your spare time?

    How have you implemented this idea? What legislation have you had your aides draft to make this happen?

    How are you demonstrating your effectiveness on this key point?

    June 9, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. voter from CT

    That's just great, lets create more demand for gas to save a few measily pennies...this is pathetic. Atleast Obama's plan to give more stimulus checks wouldn't create a demand for gas, it wouldn't encourage you to spend and drive over the summer, but to instead use some of it to pay health care and actual products to enjoy instead of spending more money on gas to save a few measily pennies. This gas tax holiday is bogus.

    June 9, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Kelby from Houston, TX

    The gas tax holiday is a sick joke on the American people. Right now gas is almost 5-6 dollars a gallon. Is 18.4 cents really gonna make that much difference? And instead of driving the price down, won't it just stay flat...for a month? COME ON. WHAT TYPE OF AN UN INFORMED IDIOT WOULD FALL FOR SUCH A STUPID PLOY

    June 9, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Mvp

    The primary is OVER! We have our nominee and yet we are still bickering like spoiled children who are mad they didn't get there way. Life is full of disappointments, the best we can do is learn from them and move on. All this talk about who is experience and who is not experience is a joke itself when we have had a "C" student in the white house for the last 8 years. Vote because of the issues, not because of emotions. If you really think that McCain can do a better job, vote for him. If you think Obama can do a better job, vote for him. If a democrat votes for McCain because their nominee lost, you are not only denying yourselfs, but your children and their children. It is time to grow up and at least act like we all have some sense.

    June 9, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Debby

    I'll take it and probably so would those fisherman this summer who need fuel for their boats or construction companies with big equipment to run etc etc. I liked Clinton's idea of a gas tax relief to.

    June 9, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    Sorry, it won't work.

    Does anybody know WHY Barack Obama is so dead against it? It's because, when he was in the Illinois State Senate, he voted for it, and nobody got the discount. The gas stations just raised their prices to make up the difference.

    Ironically, he knows this from EXPERIENCE, while McCain doesn't!

    June 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. Franky

    "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."

    Excuse me Senator, for the record, our family does need a treat to have a nice dinner and as a matter of fact, we're good. Actually, it couldn't get any better! LOL!!!

    June 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Peter in PA

    Okay there are lot of republicans here in cnn.com blog claiming to be Hillary supporters voting for McShame. Go ahead try all you want!

    For those very small group of Hillary supporters threatning to vote for McAncient, listen to Obama supporters. If Obama looses because you people voted for McCain, we Obama suppoters will never vote for Hillary. You know what that means, she will never be elected for any office including dog catcher. You need us Obama supporters as well as we need you. So you all better keep this in mind when claiming to vote for McLamer.

    June 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Tonya, Richmond, VA


    June 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Debbie,NJ

    If you love Hillary so much then why didn't you support her financially. Stop whining and help her where she needs you most. You can't help her with the primary, its over. You can't make Obama choose her as VP but you can help get her out of debt. If not what good are you.

    June 9, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. LA for Obama

    I just want to say to the Clinton supporters that I understand how you feel, and if Obama had lost I would feel the same way. However, I would have end up voting for Clinton because of the issues. Please consider the Supreme Court. Please consider the wars that are eroding our economy here. Please consider the fact that we are not respected in the global community anymore. Take the time and listen to the nominees and make the informed choice now. Our country can't afford four more years of Bush.

    June 9, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. Renee

    I am a women and I will never vote for Mcain Polices Mccain Polices is very bad for women's rights

    June 9, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. Crush Rush

    What a JERK.

    June 9, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. To R.O.B

    To R.O.B up above..........do you know the reason Mr. McCain's arms are the way they are???? When you insult another it is an insult directly back to you. Hmmmmm, you thunk? Come back and make a more intelligent comment about something you believe in, if anything!

    June 9, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. Johnny

    To all who wont vote for Obama im curious when he wins this election will he be your president?

    June 9, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. Tonya, Richmond, VA


    WAKE UP!!!!!

    June 9, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. Chelle

    mikky from grand rapids, michigan June 9th, 2008 2:01 pm ET

    Any way you might go and get a regular job, so that you can quit posting this same post in EVERY THREAD? Don't vote for him then! And as someone from Michigan, if you think McCain will be good for the economy, you are sadly mistaken.

    BTW, I doubt very seriously that you are a Hillary supporter, because her TRUE supporters are following her lead by supporting the democrat. This is too important to vote out of spite.

    June 9, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. Informed voter from florida

    How can you people snub any kind of break? It's not like the federal tax coffers are going to go empty. They have had a half year at inflated revenues so theres probably as much there for road repairs etc as was made last year. Taxes are a precentage, the higher the gas the higher the taxes. I"ll take that cut. It's simple math people and every few dollars I save on gas helps pay for the high priced food I have to put on my table. As a disabled person getting a whopping 578.00 a mth from social security, that's a godsend to me! Grow up you spoiled Obama babies. He's not putting any money in your pocket. In fact, he's going to RAISE your taxes.

    June 9, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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