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House passes gasoline price act

April 18, 2012 at 8:20 AM

WASHINGTON, April 18 (UPI) -- A House panel approved of a measure that would tie any potential release of U.S. strategic oil reserves to an increase in domestic oil and gas production.

U.S. lawmakers are taking political action they say will help bring relief to retail gasoline prices. The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said that, as of Monday, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline cost on average $3.92, down about 2 cents compared with the previous week but up 7 cents year-on-year.

Republican lawmakers in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power complained that some environmental regulations proposed by the federal government were driving energy prices higher.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the committee, said the bill would force the White House to increase domestic oil and gas production if it chose to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to offset high energy prices.

"Many factors impact the price per gallon of gasoline, including global events that are not easily controlled by Congress," Upton said in a statement. "But some factors are squarely within our control and we owe it to the American people to do something about them."

U.S. President Barack Obama called for action to police market speculators that some believe are creating a perception of global energy shortages.

The House measure moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate where it's unlikely to pass.

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