US President Joe Biden has asked Congress to suspend the gasoline tax for three months. “We can bring gas prices down and give families a little relief,” Biden said Wednesday.

He also called on states to suspend their own fuel taxes. According to a government representative, the energy companies should also be asked to increase refinery capacities. Senior Republican Senator John Thune said in a first reaction that Biden’s proposal had no chance of passing Congress.

Gasoline prices in the US are currently around five dollars a gallon (roughly €1.25 per liter). The federal government requires 18.4 cents per gallon in taxes on gasoline and 24.4 cents on diesel. In the United States, federal and state taxes are collected separately. State gasoline taxes are sometimes higher than federal taxes.

A suspension of the gasoline tax has been under discussion in the USA for months given the comparatively high prices. MPs from both parties have expressed skepticism about suspending the tax. They fear that the savings will not reach the citizens, but that the money will be pocketed by the energy companies.

The question is politically explosive, because midterm elections are due in November. Biden’s Democrats are at risk of losing a majority in one or even both chambers of Congress.