Will a plan to suspend the federal gas tax for the rest of 2022 really make a difference at the pump? It depends on who you ask.

Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan and U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, D-AZ are co-sponsors of a bill they call the Gas Prices Relief Act, which would temporarily end collection of the federal 18 cents a gallon tax until Jan. 1, 2023.

According to GasBuddy.com, the average price of gas in New Hampshire is $3.38 a gallon for regular. A year ago, the average was around $2.36 per gallon.

“This legislation is about making sure that we get Granite Staters relief at the gas pump. People are feeling a real pinch on everyday goods, and we must do more to help address rising costs, particularly the price of gas,” said Senator Hassan.

Hassan and Kelly's bill would require the Secretary of the Treasury to make sure the savings from the suspension are passed onto consumers. It would also transfer funds from the general fund to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent.

Irving station at the Lee Traffic Circle
Irving station at the Lee Traffic Circle (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media)

Will Prices Really Come Down?

Analyst Tom Kloza at Oil Price Information Service thinks that prices will come down enough without the federal tax, but believes prices are ultimately at their highest level in years.

"I think we'll see (a difference in price) but it's not a solution to a problem. It's emblematic of the populous that runs through politics," Kloza told Seacoast Current.

Once the driving season begins, Kloza thinks prices will increase as demand increases, refineries are closed for maintenance, and special summer blends have to be sold.

"I think it has the potential to see the highest average prices we've ever seen. The highest in 2008 crude oil hit $135 a barrel, and we had the financial debacle," Kloza said.

Kloza said that Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing a five month state gas tax holiday starting in July.

Cumberland Farms gas station
Cumberland Farms gas station (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media)

Hassan's Opponents React

Two of the seven running Republicans hoping to challenge Hassan for her Senate seat blasted the plan as a gimmick and blamed her support of the Biden administration for sending prices upward.

"Gas prices are skyrocketing because of the Biden administration’s reckless policies that Maggie Hassan supports," Kevin Smith said in a statement. "The Biden-Hassan policies are directly responsible for the skyrocketing gas process. They're choked off our domestic energy supply, and now we are dependent on foreign oil.

"Senator Hassan wants to play games with our energy policy after her approach raised gas prices over a buck per gallon this past year," State Sen. said on his Twitter account.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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Gallery Credit: Megan Murphy

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