Yellen says gas tax cut among options to ease higher costs at the pump

Superintendent of the Denver Mint Randy Johnson speaks to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and U.S. Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff during a tour of the Denver Mint, one of the two locations that manufactures coins for the new American Women Quarters Program, which includes the Maya Angelou quarter dollar coin, in Denver, Colorado, U.S., March 11, 2022. Jason Connolly/Pool via REUTERS

DENVER, March 11 (Reuters) - A U.S. gasoline tax cut is among the options being considered to provide relief to consumers, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Friday, adding she was confident that the country's economy would perform well this year.

"We're looking at a range of things that we might do to relieve consumers. The gas tax is one of the things on the list", Yellen told reporters on Friday at a social services agency in Denver, Colorado.

However, she added that she had concerns that cutting the gasoline tax could cause benefits to flow to oil companies and not to consumers.

She also said that a tighter monetary policy to fight inflation could cause recession, but added that the Federal Reserve should be able to balance its dual mandate for maximum employment and price stability.

"I have confidence in the Fed to get inflation under control without causing a recession. And I see a good strong economy that, even with inflation and the problems that the Russia Ukraine situation is causing, I believe the economy will do well this year."

Commenting on the U.S. dollar's reserve currency status, which has enabled powerful sanctions against Russia, she said there was no serious competitor the dollar.

"There really is no other currency that I think can rival it as its the reserve currency, and creates the ability to impose very strong sanctions", Yellen said, when asked if the dollar could lose some of its global clout due to efforts by Russia and China to find alternatives ways to do business.

"China has engaged in searches, Russia has as well, but it's really not come close to inventing any kind of substitute for the dollar," Yellen said.

Reporting by David Lawder in Denver; writing by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Leslie Adler and Aurora Ellis

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