Gas prices: California has highest prices, Oklahoma has lowest

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 gas prices in the country, led by California with an average of $5.44 for a gallon of regular unleaded gas, according to GasBuddy.

Gas prices that were already skyrocketing due to inflation and supply chain issues have accelerated after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two weeks ago. President Biden announced during his State of the Union address that he was releasing 30 million barrels from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but it has done little to assuage the rising prices – the U.S. national average hit $4.213 on Tuesday, smashing records previously hit during the 2008 recession. 

Biden announced Tuesday a ban on Russian oil, gas and energy imports to the U.S. 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 expanded domestic oil production as a solution, Democrats have openly opposed the idea. Instead, politically vulnerable Democrats in multiple states are calling for a pause on the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon through the midterm elections in November. President Biden has said he’s considering all options for lowering gas prices.

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Republicans have also called for a gas tax holiday, but at the state level. In California, Republicans have proposed a six-month gas tax holiday that would bring the tax to zero during that time period.

Democrats have opposed the idea. Gov. Gavin Newsom has instead proposed to forgo the annual increase to the existing gas tax that would take effect in July, but state Democrats have voiced opposition to that as well. 

"That's something that could potentially jeopardize a tremendous amount of jobs in this state, it could inhibit some economic growth," Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon told the Associated Press.

In Florida, which ranks 11th in the country for high gas taxes, according to the Tax Foundation, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has called on state lawmakers to pass legislation that would enact a gas tax holiday for five months.

"Gas prices have been rising due to inflationary pressures from bad federal policies, so we here in Florida need to step up and provide relief to 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.

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