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Is gas tax holiday a terrible idea? This economist says yes

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A Northeastern expert believes that a three-month gas tax break, suggested by President Joe Biden, is a bad policy proposal amid an existential environmental crisis. “The proposed gas tax holidays is a horrible idea,” says Robert Triest, chair of the Department of Economics and a former vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. “The only thing that I can think of in favor of the gas tax holiday is that, perhaps, [it] is good politically for the president. But I can think of nothing else to say in favor.” Triest listed three main reasons for his unfavorable assessment of the president’s suggestion: Climate change; limited supply of refined petroleum products; and concern for infrastructure funding. 

If the U.S. is serious about meeting its commitments under the Paris climate accord and mitigating climate change, it needs to transition away from fossil fuels. And now is the perfect opportunity to do so, Triest says. “I do think that the climate change is an existential threat,” Triest says. “While it doesn’t get headlines day-to-day, it is something that is actually much more important in terms of human welfare than something like the current inflation crisis.”

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