More pain at the pump, more debate in Washington
Mon, 27 Feb 2012 03:41:17 GMT —
More pain at the pump, as gas prices rose for the nineteenth day in a row Sunday.
AAA says the price of unleaded gasoline inched nearly a cent-and-a-half higher, to a nationwide average of $3.69 a gallon. That's a 30-cent increase from a month ago. Gas prices have been rising on the back of soaring oil prices, which have surged 10 percent over the past month.
In the coming weeks, debate on Capitol Hill over transportation legislation is expected to continue in both houses and gas prices are likely to remain a hot topic.
"They're saying by the summer drive time in areas of this country, it'll hit five dollars a gallon," Rick Santorum, Republican presidential candidate said over the weekend in Michigan.
"I've developed a program for American energy, so no future president will ever bow to a Saudi king again and so every American can look forward to $2.50 a gallon of gasoline," Newt Gingrich, Republican presidential candidate said in Michigan.
Average gas prices have risen some 40 cents a gallon over the past year, and boosting domestic energy production is an increasingly important topic of debate on Capitol Hill.
"Gas prices are so important, because it's such a tangible and real impact on people's lives. They can feel it. It affects their everyday life and that's why it's such a political issue when it comes to fighting between the two parties," Nathan Gonzales with Rothenberg Political Report said.
The Republican-controlled house has passed a bill that would increase offshore drilling, open the arctic national wildlife refuge to drilling, develop U.S. oil shale resources and fast track approval of the Keystone Xl Pipeline. These moves would not bring down gas prices immediately. Experts say the only way to do that would be to cut the gas tax, but they say, that's not necessarily a reason to reject them.
"To judge the merits of a long term project on the basis of whether it would have a short term impact, you know, that's like not saving for retirement now because you're not retired," John Kingston with Platts Energy said.
The measure, part of a larger transportation bill that has yet to reach the house floor, faces stiff opposition in the Senate, where Democratic lawmakers are working on their own bill, without the drilling measures.
*Story contributed by CNN and CBS News