CRANSTON, RI – U.S. Senator Jack Reed is concerned that sharply rising gasoline prices could slow Rhode Island’s economy.  Reed has fought for a national energy policy that creates jobs, reduces our dependence on foreign oil, and saves families and businesses money through improved efficiency for cars, appliances, and insulation.

Today, during a visit to the Oaklawn Mobil station in Cranston, Reed discussed his ongoing efforts to make America more energy independent and drive down gas prices.

“These high gas prices threaten our economic recovery and hit the middle class,” said Reed.  “There is no one solution to addressing these challenges, but there are both short-term and long-term steps we can take to help rein in gas prices like releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.” 

While gas prices often fall in February due to a decrease in demand, this year they have risen in February -- even as demand is low and supply is strong.  U.S. consumers are being warned that gas prices could hit $4 per gallon by the spring, and three states (California, Alaska, and Hawaii) have already surpassed that mark.

Rhode Island’s average gas price according to AAA Southern New England is now $3.69 per gallon of unleaded regular, an increase of 18 cents over the last month and 12 cents above the national average.

To help reduce consumers’ pain at the pump, Reed has long championed increased fuel efficiency for vehicles and succeeded in pushing for new rules setting a 35.5 miles per gallon average for the U.S. auto industry by 2016, which could help cut fuel use by 40%.

Senator Reed believes that consumers should not have to effectively pay twice at the pump for the same gallon of gas, and has supported efforts to end give-aways and subsidies for big oil companies, especially at times of record profits for the industry.

As Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment, Reed has supported efforts to safely and responsibly increase domestic oil and gas production.  And to help protect taxpayers and the environment, Reed has fought for stronger oversight of energy companies drilling in public lands and waters and to ensure energy companies are paying their fair share of royalties to the American people.