So here's my take on McCain's idea to suspend the gas tax. Let me know if I'm missing something because it sounds like a stupid idea to me. It doesn't attack the problem directly. It only gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling like we think we're doing something important when we really aren't doing anything substantial.
Four things friends...
First, it really is like grandpa giving ya five bucks. Anyone remember that "Oh boy, a quarter" feeling? We're not kids anymore grandpa. We need real money. You'll see my math later.
Second, removing 18 cents isn't going to stop the oil companies from jacking the price some more.
Third, if it drops, are we going to feel all warm and fuzzy and suddenly decide we can afford to buy gas more often? We're going to drive demand up and affect prices some more.
And finally, when all is said and done and the 12 weeks are gone, the tax will come back. We are gonna be pissed off about that. What kind of crazy person decides to do something they know will leave them pissed off in the end?
So here's some rough math assuming gas prices are the same when we get 18 cents off per gallon. I'll also assume that most Americans gas up once a week. If you're doing more than that, you're either one hell of a commuter or you've got a gas guzzler that even Cookie Monster would idolize.
So I'm paying about $3.44 per gallon right now and I fill up when I get to about 1/8 to 1/4 of a tank left. I'm usually adding about 14 gallons by that point, so that comes to $48.16 and I usually top it off to the next highest dollar amount, so we'll say $49. The time period McCain is talking about being tax free is approximately 12 weeks. 49x12 is $588. Keep that number in your head.
Now let's get the tax break
3.44 - 0.18 = 3.26 per gallon
3.26 x 14 gallons = $45.64, so we'll say $46
That's $3 less than what I paid before per week. Whoopeee.
46 x 12 = $552
588-552 = $36
or you could say the $3 saved x 12 weeks = $36
I only save $36??? Pathetic. Considering that gas prices will only continue to go up, that number is likely to be significantly less.