Republicans slammed U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu during a House Oversight meeting Tuesday.
The national average price per gallon for regular gasoline is currently $3.86, which is an increase of .30 cents per gallon from a month ago today, according to the American Automobile Association’s daily fuel gauge report.
As gas prices continue to rise, President Barack Obama and his administration have deflected criticism from Republicans that claim the president has not done anything to address the skyrocketing gas prices.
Mr. Chu directly addressed questions from House Republicans.
“I have heard nothing of a policy that will meaningfully impact the price at the pump, other than driving it up,” said U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican during the House hearing Tuesday.
In Mr. McHenry’s home state of North Carolina, the average gas price is $3.83 per gallon, according to AAA.
President Obama recently visited a Daimler Trucks manufacturing plant in North Carolina, where he announced tax credits for energy-saving vehicles, and other clean energy initiatives that his administration believes will lower American dependency on foreign oil and drive down gas prices.
Republicans have been critical of the president’s support for clean energy initiatives, especially at a time when so many Americans are still unemployed.
Mr. McHenry slammed the president for telling his constituents to purchase new clean energy vehicles when they can barely afford to fill up their current cars “is absolutely ridiculous.”
Mr. Chu, however, defended the president’s clean energy initiatives.
“America has reached a crossroads and members of Congress have a big decision to make: We can play to win in the clean-energy race — investing in America’s workers, industries, and innovations — or we can wave the white flag and cede leadership to other countries that are investing in these industries,” said Mr. Chu.
The Energy secretary also discredited criticism from U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, about comments he made in 2008 about gas prices. Republicans have repeatedly attacked Mr. Chu in recent months regarding his 2008 statement about finding a way to increase gas prices in the U.S. to match those of Europe, where gas prices have historically been higher than they are in the U.S.
“I’m not trying to boost the price of gasoline as energy secretary. Quite the opposite. I’m trying, as a scientist, to diversify the use of gasoline,” said Mr. Chu.
The Democrats strategy of diversifying the use of gasoline versus the Republicans domestic drill-heavy strategy to lower gas prices could be a pivotal argument for the general election in the fall.