Gas tax holiday just fumes

Gas prices rose to more than four dollars a gallon locally this week, and Illinois citizens, like the rest of Americans, are pining for relief. But plans put forth this year by Sens. Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Illinois House Republicans this week for gas tax holidays are pure political ploys.

The Illinois House refused to even consider a proposal brought by the state GOP which would have cut the state tax on gasoline 5 points, 6.25 percent to 1.25 percent, until Sept. 15. The move would have cost $200 million the state doesn’t have and according to their own estimates, would only save the average family about $60 during four months.

However, tax holidays are but a pittance compared to how much prices have actually gone up. According to AAA, the national price average for a gallon of regular unleaded jumped more than nine percent from just a month ago. Prices are 19 percent higher than they were last year.

The depressing reality is that even if a gas tax holiday were a good idea, motorists would probably only see a difference for a few weeks before the rising costs of gas would wipe out any savings.

It sounds like a broken record at this point, but the best way to cope with high gas prices is to actually drive less and drive smart. Walking, riding a bike, carpooling, using public transportation, buying more fuel-efficient cars and encouraging the development of more alternative energies are the only ways we’ll find relief from high prices.

And any politician who advocates a tax holiday that will discourage progress on any of those fronts, if even for a few months, is being blatantly opportunistic.

Our leaders should respect us enough to give us real solutions, not selling us a bill of goods or, as the case may be, a tank of gas.