Top Republican open to gas tax increase

CNNMoney's 2015 Playbook: Oil & Gas
CNNMoney's 2015 Playbook: Oil & Gas

The last time the federal gas tax was increased, the price at the pump was $1.09.

That was 1993. Twenty years later, lawmakers are considering an increase.

The incoming Republican leader of the Senate Transportation Committee said Sunday an increase is up for consideration, as "we have to look at all the options."

"I don't think we take anything off the table at this point," John Thune said on "Fox News Sunday."

Prices at the pump are at the lowest point in years -- the nationwide average has tumbled more than a dollar in the last year, reaching $2.20 on Monday.

That's given drivers significant relief at the same time as the federal highway fund continues to face huge shortages. Thune said the fund is looking at "about a $100 billion shortfall."

On top of that, the law behind the fund is set to expire in May.

Related: What does gas cost in your state?

And the nation's infrastructure is in dire need of repair. The American Society of Civil Engineers rated the country's roads and bridges a D+.

Some of his colleagues, led by Republican Senator Bob Corker and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, have proposed an increase of 12 cents per gallon over the next two years, then linking increases to inflation.

Business leaders, including the Chamber of Commerce, have also called for an increase.

President Obama isn't currently on board with that, but is open to "compromise," his spokesman said Monday.

"We don't believe the best way to fund modernizing our infrastructure is to raise the gas tax," said Press Secretary Josh Earnest. "But some people do and we're willing to consider those proposals."

Obama has instead called for eliminating what he says are unfair tax loopholes.

The feds currently collect 18.4 cents in tax per gallon of gasoline. While gas prices, the cost of highway repairs and inflation have climbed, the gas tax hasn't.

When varying state taxes are factored in, the price of gas at the pump includes 23.47 cents in taxes, according to an estimate from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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