Senator tables Diesel Tax Parity Act; Price hits $4.20 in US

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) introduced legislation yesterday, which would lower the federal diesel tax from 24.3 cents a gallon to the same price as gasoline, 18.3 cents a gallon.

The motion comes as diesel prices at the pump struck a record high south of the border — $4.20 a gallon, according to the Oil Price Information Service. In Canada, diesel prices average about $1.35 a liter and can be as high as $1.50 in remote parts of the Maritimes and Quebec.

Crude oil, meanwhile, set a new record of its own, spiking after an attack on a Japanese oil tanker in the Middle East to close above $117 a barrel for the first time ever.

Snowe’s Diesel Tax Parity Act would close the disparity between gas and diesel.

“The dramatic rise in fuel costs has resulted in lobstermen and truckers to go out of business — thereby endangering Maine’s most prosperous industries,” said Senator Snowe, who is also a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

There’s no ceiling on the price of fuel right now

“One way to immediately alleviate this burden is to lower the diesel tax to make it proportional and equal to the gas tax,” Snowe said.

“Our trucking industry and small businesses are in a crisis and drastic steps need to be undertaken by Congress,” he added. “The situation for Maine’s trucking industry is simply untenable and we need immediate action to lower the price of fuel for small businesses that are impacted by these historic costs.”

Diesel prices are expected to keep climbing as they trace the path of crude, which has surged to new records for six trading sessions in a row.

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