Illinoisans pay the highest motor fuel taxes in the Midwest, but some relief could be coming from the federal gas taxes paid at the pump at the urging of President Joe Biden.
Biden on Wednesday, June 22, called for the suspension of the federal gas tax for 90 days, something that could save drivers a little more than 18 cents a gallon. He urged states to follow suit.
“Already, some states have acted,” Biden said. “In Connecticut and New York, the governors have temporarily suspended their gas tax as well. In Illinois and Colorado, governors delayed theirs to give families a bit more breathing room as well.”
But in Illinois, the state’s gas tax isn’t changing. A planned July 1 increase of about 2 cents a gallon is being delayed for six months when the average price here is $5.50 a gallon. Josh Sharp, with the Illinois Fuel and Retail Association, said that’s not saving taxpayers anything.
“Unfortunately, several Illinois politicians have sort of made the argument that delaying the tax increase [tied to inflation] is somehow tantamount to a tax cut and that’s just not the case,” Sharp told The Center Square.
Sharp said Illinois’ plan, which also requires gas stations to post signs announcing the policy or face $500 daily fines, just delays more taxes for next year.
“Now they’re going to raise it twice in 2023, they’re just putting that off until after the [November midterm] election,” Sharp said.
Illinois has the highest gas taxes in the Midwest and the second-highest gas tax in the country.
State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said the state needs to suspend Illinois’ sales tax that’s assessed on top of the price of gas.
“We 100% need a special session to deal with this, absolutely,” Batinick told WMAY.
Others at the statehouse have said there needs to be a special session to suspend the state’s entire 44 cent a gallon gas tax on regular fuel.
When asked earlier this month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker wouldn’t say if he’d call a special session to deal with the issue. He said the state will be sending out income and property tax rebates in the months ahead.
Biden said the gas tax holiday won’t fix the problem, but will provide “a little bit of breathing room.” He also called on gas producers to refine more and announced a release of an additional 1 million barrels of oil from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Critics say Biden’s plan is a short-term gimmick that won’t bring down prices and blame the high cost of fuel on his green energy policies.
This article originally appeared on The Center Square