COLUMBUS, Ohio — As President Joe Biden pushes to repeal the federal tax on gasoline for three months, he’s also asking states across the country to eliminate their taxes at the pump for the same time period as an effort to ease the financial burden on families facing high prices.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is not interested in following that request.
During a press conference Thursday morning regarding changes coming to the Ohio BMV, Gov. DeWine was asked about the gas tax situation.
“I asked ODOT just to give me the figures in regard to if the state of Ohio stopped collecting these taxes for a three-month period of time,” Gov. DeWine said. “What would be the ramifications to the ability to build roads, the ability to fix roads and to do all those things?”
He said ODOT determined the financial impact on the state would be $587 million ($355 million directly to the state and $232 million for local communities).
“That would be the loss for a three-month period of time if we did what the President suggested,” Gov. DeWine said. "Again, that’s $355 million that the state would not have, ODOT would not have to work on our roads. It’s $232 million that the local communities would not get.”
The state of Ohio currently charges 38.5 cents per gallon. The tax on diesel is listed at 47 cents per gallon.
Gov. DeWine called the gas tax holiday scenario a “very false promise” that “sounds very good” without considering the impacts to construction projects, road safety and more.
“It would be a major, major blow to our ability to continue to fix highways, continue to fix dangerous intersections, continue to work to save lives, continue to work to make Ohio a state where we can transport goods as well as people very efficiently. I think it’s a very false promise. It’s a promise that sounds very good, but the reality is there’s choices in life. The choice is we would end up slowing down what we’re doing in the state of Ohio and setting us back.”
Gov. DeWine said ODOT reported this would also result in a delay of projects.
“No one likes to pay taxes. It’s very, very tempting, I think, for us to say, ‘Let’s just stop collecting state of Ohio taxes in regard to gasoline.’ The taxes that are being charged today are the same taxes that were being charged when gas was half of what it is today. So those numbers do not change. Ohio is not a state where we charge a sales tax or percentage. Ohio is a state where we charge a flat fee. The primary way that we support our highways is through people who go to the gas and fill it up or put in their tank. The consequence would be that this would imperil a number of different projects that we have going in the state of Ohio.”
In a statement released to 3News on Wednesday, Gov. DeWine's press secretary released a statement detailing how the governor believes the Biden administration's energy policies are to blame for the continually high gas prices.
"Governor DeWine has noted that the most significant things our country can do to reduce gas prices is to increase fuel refining capacity and reverse Biden administration policies that have had the adverse effect of reducing supply and increasing gasoline prices," the statement read.