Romney in 2006 said high gas prices were 'probably here to stay'

Mitt Romney has slammed President Obama in recent days for the high cost of gasoline, but defended his state's gas tax while Massachusetts governor and said in 2006 that high gas prices "are probably here to stay."

Republicans have attacked Energy Secretary Steven Chu for a 2008 comment, since disavowed, that the United States should gradually move toward higher gas prices, in line with Europe's costs. Romney, citing the remark, called Chu part of a "gas hike trio" of Obama administration Cabinet members who should be fired.

But in 2006, Romney seemed to accept rising gas prices and opposed other Massachusetts Republicans who were then calling for a suspension in the state's gas tax. At the time, he argued that suspending it would only further drive up gasoline consumption in the long run. 

"I don't think that now is the time, and I'm not sure there will be the right time, for us to encourage the use of more gasoline,” Romney said, according to the Quincy Patriot Ledger. "I'm very much in favor of people recognizing that these high gasoline prices are probably here to stay."

At the time Romney made the quote in May of 2006, the average price of gas hovered around $3 per gallon, according to government data.

The New Republic first unearthed the quote.

Romney supported climate change legislation and promoted fuel efficiency standards while governor, two things he's criticized Obama for on the campaign trail. He's also blamed Obama for the high prices at the pump, but when he was governor said gas price spikes were caused by global market fluctuations.

— This story was updated at 11:14 a.m.

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