Obama dismisses GOP claims that he wants higher gas prices

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The president dismissed lingering GOP allegations that he wants higher prices in hopes that they will build support for his clean energy plans.

“Going into an election, do you think the president of the United States wants gas prices to go higher? Is there anybody here that thinks that makes a lot of sense?” Obama asked. “I want gas pries lower because they hurt families.”

Obama said higher gas prices – which reached an average of $3.76 per gallon Tuesday – threaten to slow down the economic recovery and hurt consumers.

"It’s not good for the economy," he said. "When gas prices go up, consumer spending oftentimes pulls back and we’re in the midst of a recovery that’s starting to build up steam and we don’t want to reverse it."

And he reiterated his call for an “all-of-the-above” energy plan that focuses on expanding domestic oil-and-gas production, improving vehicle fuel efficiency and increasing investments in renewable energy. At the same time, Obama acknowledged that there are no "silver bullets" for fixing rising gas prices.

The president said he has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to “reconstitute” a task force charged with examining the role of speculation in higher prices at the pump. Obama first formed the task force last year.

The move comes a day after dozens of House and Senate Democrats pressed federal regulators to implement limits on speculative trading in energy futures markets that they say are responsible for the spike in gas prices.

Federal policymakers have few options to lower gas prices in the short-term, according to experts. Even a dramatic expansion of domestic oil-and-gas drilling will have a small impact on prices, they say.