HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Biden administration is weighing the idea of waiving the 18-cent federal gas tax by putting a temporary pause on it. This is an idea that is getting mixed reactions from drivers.
Gas prices are not offering any relief to drivers like Honolulu resident Andre Perez, The average cost of a gallon of gas in the state sits at $5.55.
On the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
Perez said, “It’s affected me and my family and I’m hoping they go down soon.”
University of Hawaii Economics Professor Nori Tarui said the current high cost of gas should get state leaders thinking about the long run and how to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
“It’s true that the gas price in the state is like some of the highest within the nation,” Tarui said. “Perhaps lowering the income tax or other types of policies that would directly benefit low-income households might be a better way to try to alleviate the current economic burden of high gas prices.”
On top of the federal gas tax, Hawaii has a 16-cent gas tax. The four counties also have their own rate/ Maui is the highest with 24 cents. Hawaii Island County is at 23 cents. Kauai County is at 17 cents, and Honolulu is at 16.5 cents.
The Hawaii Island County Council recently considered slashing 10 cents off the county gas tax for about a year, but that measure died when the 10 cents could add up to roughly $5.5 million used for road repairs.
If the 16 cents from the state gas tax were temporarily removed, the Hawaii Department of Transportation said the average driver would save about $6 a month, but cost the department between $6 to $7 million in revenue.
The Hawaii Senate’s Transportation Committee Chair Chris Lee said several bills were introduced during this year’s legislative session to encourage the use of electrical vehicles and public transportation.
Lee said, “Getting off fossil fuels into cleaner, far cheaper methods of getting around like electric vehicles, electric bikes, and mopeds and all that increased public transit.”
Meanwhile, some drivers like Kenneth Kaili are luke-warm about the idea of Biden’s gas tax holiday.
Kaili said, “That wouldn’t make a difference. that’s still 18 cents short, 18 cents that nothing right now.”
Check out more news from around Hawaii
KHON 2 News asked Governor David Ige’s office if he would consider a state holiday tax.