House GOP weighs new gas-price bill

House Republicans are planning new legislation to thwart Environmental Protection Agency rules that they argue could worsen rising gasoline prices.

While details remain scarce, the new bill could provide Republicans a rallying point for continued attacks on the White House's energy and environmental policies.

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“House Republicans are working on legislation to ensure Congress and the American people have a clear understanding of the impacts of EPA’s rules on gas prices before the administration can finalize certain regulations,” said Charlotte Baker, a spokeswoman for House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). “More details about the legislation will be forthcoming.”

An environmentalist said the various rules in the House GOP’s crosshairs might include EPA’s planned “Tier III” vehicle emissions and fuel standards, which are aimed at curbing ozone, particulate matter and other types of pollution.

Republicans have been hammering the White House over gasoline prices, which according to AAA are now averaging $3.84 per gallon nationwide.

President Obama has warned there are no quick fixes to rising gasoline prices while emphasizing rising U.S. oil production, his support for continued drilling and green energy programs, and he’s hitting the road this week for a multi-state tour to tout his energy agenda.

Administration officials argue that it’s inaccurate to blame White House policy for pump prices. Many experts say that policymakers have very few tools to affect gasoline costs, which are tethered to crude oil prices set on global markets.

But Baker, the GOP aide, said, “There is no doubt EPA's rules will impact transportation fuel prices, but we still don’t know exactly how much more consumers and businesses will be paying at the pump.”

She said that with the economy struggling and prices rising, “it would be imprudent for EPA to move forward with these rules without first conducting a proper assessment of the cumulative costs and benefits.”

Andrew Restuccia contributed. 

— This story was updated at 8:23 p.m.

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