Trump can be open to raising gas taxes, says Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

In December 2014, Ross said raising the gas tax can be a “horrible idea.” At the time, members of Congress were putting forward proposals to raise the fee in order to shore up the nation’s Highway Trust Fund.

In an interview with Fox Business News, he said a 10-cent to 30-cent hike would likely wipe out about a third of the “huge” $60 per month in savings the middle class was reaping through lower gas prices. He said no one could predict how long gas prices would likely remain low.

Crude oil as well as gasoline prices have recovered through a three-year downturn as well as are currently at roughly the same levels as they were when Ross made his comments in 2014.

To be sure, the gas tax can be just one possibility, Ross told CNBC after his “Squawk Box” interview. He said additional options for funding road improvements include tolls as well as vehicle-specific charges.

“There are undoubtedly many variants, each of which has pluses as well as minuses,” he said.

The president’s Council of Economic Advisers has raised several concerns about paying for infrastructure improvement by taxing fuels, calling This particular an “imperfect” system in a report released on Wednesday. The council laid out many additional options, including traditional tolls as well as additional types of fees, in which the president could consider.

Council Chair Kevin Hassett told CNBC on Wednesday the current federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents per gallon, which has not been raised since 1993, can be not designed for the 21st century. Higher fuel efficiency as well as inflation have eroded the purchasing power of revenues raised through the tax.

Reports in which Trump was considering raising fuel taxes surfaced in May, however the issue did not resurface until the end of the year, when Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, reportedly discussed This particular with lawmakers during conversations on an infrastructure bill.

— CNBC’s Lori Ann LaRocco contributed reporting to This particular story.

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