Unprecedented gas prices are hurting families across the country, but drivers in blue states like California and New York are feeling an even bigger pinch at the pump.
As of Tuesday, the Democratic-led states of Washington, Nevada, Oregon, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York have the highest gasoline prices in the nation, led by the California with an average of $5.44 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, according to GasBuddy.
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Gas prices that were already skyrocketing due to inflation and supply chain issues accelerated after Russia invaded Ukraine two weeks ago. President Biden announced during his State of the Union address that he was releasing 30 million barrels of his strategic oil reserve, but he did little to quell rising prices – the The US national average hit $4,213 on Tuesday, breaking records previously set in the 2008 recession.
Biden on Tuesday announced a ban on Russian oil, gas and energy imports into the United States in an effort to weaken Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the move is expected to push gas prices even higher.
While Republicans have called for increased domestic oil production as a solution, Democrats have openly opposed the idea. Instead, politically vulnerable Democrats in several states are calling for a pause on the federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents a gallon during the midterm elections in November. President Biden has said he is considering all options to lower gasoline prices.
Republicans have also called for a gas tax exemption, but at the state level. In California, Republicans have proposed a six-month gasoline tax holiday that would reduce the tax to zero during that time.
Democrats opposed the idea. Governor Gavin Newsom instead proposed waiving the existing annual gas tax increase that would take effect in July, but state Democrats also opposed that.
“It’s something that could potentially jeopardize a huge amount of jobs in this state, it could inhibit some economic growth,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon told The Associated Press.
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In Florida, which ranks 11th in the nation for high gasoline taxes, according to the Tax FoundationRepublican Gov. Ron DeSantis called on state lawmakers to pass legislation that would enact a five-month gasoline tax exemption.
“Gasoline prices have gone up due to inflationary pressures from bad federal policies, so we here in Florida need to step up and take the pressure off our citizens,” DeSantis said when he announced the proposal in November.
Despite Florida’s high gas tax rate, a gallon of unleaded in the Sunshine State currently costs $4.18, which is similar to states like Idaho and Virginia, according to GasBuddy.