Friday, May 2, 2008

Gas Tax Math

From Sam Stein in the Huffington Post:

"We believe the presidency requires leadership," said [Clinton advisor] Wolfson. "There are times that a president will take a position that a broad support of quote-unquote experts agree with. And there are times they will take a position that quote-unquote experts do not agree with."
"The long and the short of it is that people are hurting today, and when you say that it doesn't save much money, our calculation is that for the average driver [the gas tax holiday] would save 70 dollars," said chief [Clinton] strategist Geoff Garin.
If she's decided not to listen to "experts," where did she get the $70 figure? From something she whipped up on the back of napkin at a Burger King in Indianapolis? If so, she should check her math.

Obama has been saying that the gas tax holiday would save the average driver no more than $30 at the very most.

"Expert" Eric Toder at the Tax Policy Center does the algebra and shows that Obama's right on:
If a gas tax holiday drives the price down by the full amount of the tax (18.4 cents), the average driver would save about $28 ($27.67) between June 1 and September 1. But we think the price would fall by only a small fraction of the 18.4 cents tax – so instead of $28, the average driver might save $5 to $10.
See Eric's post for the full calculations.

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