Gas tax suspension It would be a bad idea

There may be ways to put a lid on soaring gasoline and diesel prices in the long run, but suspending the federal taxes on the fuel … isn’t one of them.

To the contrary, it probably would accomplish one of two things or perhaps both: increase consumption … and increase the profits of the oil companies.

The idea to suspend the 18.4-cent federal gas tax and 24.4-cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day was first proposed by Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican nominee.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton also is for suspension of the tax … President Bush, in a press conference Tuesday, said he’d consider the suspension.

Clinton’s opponent for the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama … hasn’t signed on to the election-year gimmick.

What is needed to get a rein on energy prices is more supply and less demand for oil. As for supply, government could do more about that by loosening restrictions on exploration … and changing tax structures to encourage major oil companies to put more back into refineries.

But those are long-term solutions. There may not be a viable short-term one.

- The Greenwood Commonwealth