Says Gas Tax Suspension Would Cost Arizona $141 million, 4,900 Jobs
Washington, DC — The AAA and the Oil Price Information Service reported Monday that gas prices hit yet another record, a national average of $3.61 a gallon for regular unleaded. Today, Exxon Mobil Corporation announced their profits had risen 17 percent to $10.9 billion — the second biggest U.S. quarterly corporate profit ever. BP and Shell reported similar gains, $7.6 billion and $9 billion in profits, respectively. Their combined earnings were higher than Iceland’s annual gross domestic product, and the industry has been posting record profits for some time.
Responding to this news, Rep. Grijalva issued the following statement regarding high gas prices and various proposed solutions:
“The temporary suspension of the gas tax is a deeply flawed idea. Let me be clear: No matter what some candidates may claim, reducing the gas tax by eighteen cents will not lower the price of gas by eighteen cents. The more likely result is the oil companies will pocket the eighteen cents per gallon and keep prices right where they are.
“The gas tax finances the Highway Trust Fund, and the proposed suspension would cost Arizona an estimated $141 million and over 4,900 jobs. Nationwide, this move could cost over 300,000 jobs nationally, and would push the Highway Trust Fund’s deficit up to $10.8 billion. Last year’s tragedy in Minneapolis made clear the crisis in our nation’s infrastructure, and I think we owe it to the American people to come up with an idea better than simply robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“A far better solution would be to tax the windfall profits large corporations are reaping, and repeal misguided and ineffective subsidies for ethanol which have driven up the price of food, while doing nothing to hold down gas prices, and very little to help the environment.
“This week, the Gas Price Spike Act will be re-introduced, and I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of this urgently needed legislation.
“I also call on President Bush to use his power to temporarily suspend purchases of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). By actually affecting the market supply, this move could reduce the price of a gallon by five to twenty-four cents. When SPR purchases were last suspended, in 2002, the price of a barrel of crude dropped by a third, from thirty dollars to twenty.”