HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Record-high gas prices are one thing everyone is complaining about right now.
The average price for a gallon of unleaded climbed another 6 cents to $4.47 Thursday — 64 cents more than last week, according to AAA. Diesel is now $5.22 a gallon — a new record. The price for a gallon of diesel went up more than a dollar in just one week.
Republican leaders at the state Capitol want immediate relief for Connecticut drivers. They are proposing a suspension of the gross receipts tax on gas in Connecticut, which is about 27 cents per gallon, and for lawmakers in Washington to suspend the 18-cent federal tax.
It would end July 1 and lawmakers claim it would be revenue-neutral, costing the state $180 million made up through extra revenues collected due to inflation on the price of goods.
“The emergency needs to be dealt with,” said State Rep. Vin Candelora, (R) House Minority Leader.
“Families need relief at the pump today,” Senate Minority Leader Mark Kelly (R-Stratford) said. “They need immediate relief. They don’t need relief next year. They need it now. Tax credits don’t bring relief to the taxpayers’ pockets today. The tax cut we’re proposing does.”
Gov. Ned Lamont told reporters Wednesday that he is willing to work with the legislature to find drivers some temporary relief.
“Some have talked about a gas tax holiday, some have talked about a rebate, so it goes right to the people…so it doesn’t go to the middle man,” the Democratic governor said. “And we’ll be able to figure that out with the legislature over the next week or so.”
Democrats say they need to look at all options. They are open to suspending the state gas tax, but are also looking at a credit or rebate check.
“Well obviously, that’s what the governor has been talking to us about in the last 48 to 72 hours. I think it’s an interesting concept that some of the states are looking at, and the reason to look at it is because there are studies that showed that gas tax suspensions don’t actually mean real savings for actual drivers,” said State Rep. Sean Scanlon, (D) Guilford.
A number of governors around the country, including Lamont, have called on President Joe Biden to suspend the federal gas tax.
“We would make a deal and we could get that check out the door to everybody that owns an automobile,” Lamont said.
This comes as President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports in retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Republicans say they want to vote next week on their idea. Democrats say they are still crunching the numbers.