"Fortunately there are positive steps we can take to promote energy independence in America, to protect consumers, improve vehicle efficiency, boost production of domestic renewable energy, and convert oil industry tax breaks into gas price relief for our consumers," he added.
Connolly said he would start by soon introducing the Gas Price Relief Act, which would raise taxes on oil companies and rebate that money to "our hard-pressed commuters throughout America." Last week, Connolly said this would give about $185 to each U.S. driver, equal to a cut in gas prices of 27 cents per gallon.
He said that idea, coupled with increased fuel efficiencies, would help lower gas prices. "If you can save 30 percent at the pump, better fuel efficiency would more than offset the recent spike in gas prices," he said.
Connolly's plan will likely be ignored in the House, where Republicans this week will pass bills to speed up Gulf of Mexico drilling permits and lift what they see is a de facto White House moratorium on new drilling.
The Democrat-led Senate, however, has a similar proposal they will pursue this week. A bill to be introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) would also raise taxes on oil companies, though it would use revenues for deficit reduction.