NEW YORK — President Donald Trump is seeking to increase natural gas prices, but the president is not willing to hike the federal gas tax to fund the initiative, according to a person familiar with the proposal.
Trump, the person said, has been in discussions with Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats about lowering the gas tax, which currently is about 14 cents per gallon.
Trump has not said what he would do about the tax, though he has repeatedly said that the tax should be lowered.
He also has said he would consider hiking it if Republicans agree to raise it in exchange for lower taxes.
Trump also has proposed a new $4 billion tax credit for natural gas production, which would provide a significant boost to the industry.
In recent weeks, the president has been more critical of the gas industry and its reliance on imports than he has been of his own administration.
Trump is looking for ways to get rid of regulations and reduce energy costs, and he has expressed skepticism that the federal government can solve the problem of the rising cost of natural gas.
Trump has previously said he does not want to raise the gas taxes because he does want to boost jobs and wages.
But the person familiar said the president’s comments suggest that he is open to the idea of raising the gas price.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Trump wrote that he wants to “set aside our differences on the subject of gas taxes and other revenue tools,” the person told CNN.
“I have said repeatedly that I believe gas taxes are an important revenue tool and that I will seek to increase them as needed.
I have also indicated that we could raise the tax rate as needed.”
The person familiar, who was not authorized to discuss the president directly, said the administration is “working on a range of solutions” to address the gas-price problem.
Trump said last month that the U.S. would increase gas taxes, saying that his administration is looking at various options, including a tax credit.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.