Biden suggests Republicans who criticize him for high gas prices would make Putin roll over Ukraine

President Biden formally called on Wednesday for a federal fiscal holiday on gas, while he again blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin and questioned whether his Republican critics would have preferred to ignore Putin’s “iron fist” in Europe for lower prices than gas.

The president has asked Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for the next 90 days. He also urged states to suspend state gas taxes or find other ways to provide relief to American motorists.

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“Every time you go to the gas station to fill up your tank, the federal government charges an 18-cent tax per gallon of gas you buy and a 20% tax per gallon of diesel you buy,” Biden explained, noting that the tax has been “around 90 years” and that it is “important because we use it for the Highway Trust Fund to keep our highways running”.

The federal government currently charges 18 cents in taxes per gallon of gasoline and 24 cents per gallon of diesel, a senior administration official said.

Biden said that by lifting the federal gas tax, “we can lower the price of gas and give families some relief.”

“I urge companies to pass this on — every penny of that 18-cent reduction to consumers,” Biden said. “That is… there is no time now for speculation.”

Gas prices rose 50% nationwide last year (Getty Images / Getty Images)

The president, however, acknowledged on Wednesday that the gas tax exemption “just won’t solve the problem”, but said it would provide families with “some immediate relief”.

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The president has shifted to the war in Ukraine, again blaming Putin for record gas prices across the country.

“We could have turned a blind eye to Putin’s murderous methods. The price of gas would not have shot up the way it has,” Biden said. “I believe that would be wrong. I believed that… and I believe that now the free world had no choice.”

Hermitage Capital CEO Bill Browder told FOX Business that Ukraine President Zelenksyy delivered a

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with senior officials on supporting Russia’s aviation industry amid Western sanctions via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 31 2022. (Mikhail Klime (AP/AP Images)

“America could not stand by and the West could not stand by, although some suggested at the time, and just watch Putin’s tanks roll into Ukraine and take over a sovereign country,” Biden said.

“So for all those Republican congressmen who criticize me today for the high gas prices in the United States, are you saying that we were wrong to support Ukraine? Are you saying that we were wrong to stand up to Putin?” asked Biden.

“Are you saying we’d rather have lower gas prices in the US and Putin’s iron fist in Europe?” asked Biden. “I do not believe that.”

The president also said that allegations by GOP lawmakers that the US “is not producing enough oil” and that he is “limiting oil production” were “absurd.”

Biden on Wednesday also delivered a message to companies that run gas stations and set prices at the pump.

“This is a time of war, global danger, in Ukraine,” Biden said. “These are not normal times.”

“Lower the price you’re charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for your product now,” Biden said. “Do it today. Your customers, the American people, need help now.”

The national average for a gallon of gas is currently close to $5. Prior to this year, the highest national average for gas prices ever recorded by the AAA was $4.11 per gallon in July 2008.

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About that, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will meet with the seven largest refiners later this week on how the federal government can help increase refining capacity.

Biden’s former boss, former President Barack Obama, called the gas tax a “trick” in the 2008 election campaign.

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There is also concern about the impact of a gas tax exemption on already record inflation. The Commission for a Responsible Federal Budget, a non-partisan group that advocates reducing the federal budget, previously argued that suspending the tax for a period of 10 months could actually increase demand for gasoline and other goods and services when the economy is already experiencing high consumer demand and pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions.

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