Hillary Clinton.

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Photo: Marc Nozell

U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John McCain have said they support temporarily suspending the federal excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuel over the summer to ease the impacts of high fuel prices on consumers. McCain indicated he would shift revenue from other sources to cover the estimated $9 billion dip in highway infrastructure funds that would result; Clinton has proposed enacting a windfall-profits tax on oil companies to make up the shortfall. Both Clinton and McCain attacked Barack Obama for opposing the tax suspension. “This is one of the big differences in this race,” Clinton said at a campaign rally. “My opponent Senator Obama opposes giving consumers a break on the gas tax at the federal level. I support it. I understand the American people need some relief.” Obama said the tax suspension will make little difference, will encourage oil consumption and imports, could be canceled out by subsequent oil-price increases, and will only save the average consumer about $30 total over the summer.

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