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Rep. Charlie Crist calls on Gov. DeSantis to freeze Florida's gas tax

The move would temporarily save Floridians more than 26 cents per gallon at the pump, according to Crist.
Credit: AP
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — We don't need to tell you about the high prices we've been seeing at the pump. The average gas price across the state is more than $3 per gallon with no signs of getting any cheaper before the holidays.

So, in an effort to provide Floridians a little financial relief, Rep. Charlie Crist, who is running for governor, is proposing a short-term freeze on the state's gas tax.

The "Gas Tax Holiday" would save us 26.5 cents per gallon at the pump through the end of 2021, according to a release from the congressman's office. Crist's proposal would work by tapping into Florida's rainy day fund as well as the nation's strategic petroleum oil reserve. 

“As our national recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continues, Floridians and all Americans are traveling more, and that means higher prices at the pump for working families. With the holiday season approaching, it’s time the Governor turned his attention to the real issues facing Floridians. Instead of convening a special legislative session in Tallahassee that hurts our residents and businesses, the Governor and the Legislature should suspend the state gas tax for the rest of the year so that we can finally offer relief to hard-working Floridians and mom-and-pop small businesses being squeezed at the pump," Crist said in a statement.

“In addition, I am calling on President Biden to tap into the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This holiday season, let’s give all Floridians the gift of cheaper prices at the pump," Crist added.

The tax freeze would only be possible with the approval of the Florida Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has previously pushed the responsibility for rising gas prices on the Biden administration. 

When asked what DeSantis thought of Crist's proposal, the governor's office passed along a statement he made on Oct. 25:

“I really hope the Biden administration will, will do all that they can to reduce the price of gas and begging OPEC to lower the price is not a sufficient plan. The gas prices are a huge deal and we need relief for that. And then we also just need relief generally from the inflation that we're seeing. You can't dismiss it and say that it was just a little blip and this is inflation. This is inflation that eats away at family's budgets.”

DeSantis' office also criticized Crist's support for the president's infrastructure bill and its potential effect on gas prices.

"...Biden’s infrastructure bill, which Crist supports, includes a pilot program to tax American drivers per mile. This is potentially even more burdensome than any gas tax, with more harmful implications for federal government surveillance and control. How does Crist reconcile this proposal with his empty rhetoric about cutting gas prices?" the governor's office added.

Crist's proposal isn't the first of its kind. Earlier this week, Joe Cunningham, a Democrat seeking to become South Carolina's next governor, proposed a halt to the state's gas tax.

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