Republicans use gasoline-price angst to fuel attacks

Republicans are tapping into anger over rising gasoline prices by launching a fresh attack on congressional Democrats for failing to offer a “serious solution” to the problem.

The National Republican Congressional Committee made the accusation in news releases sent Wednesday that targeted 44 Democrats in districts the GOP hopes to turn red next year.

Among the targets: Rep. Pete Gallego of Texas, Rep. Lois Capps of California, Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut and Rep. Bill Owens of New York.

“Pete Gallego is running on empty with middle-class families,” said NRCC communications director Andrea Bozek, in the release aimed at the freshman who represents areas near El Paso and San Antonio. “For 33 straight days, gas prices have steadily risen, and he has been silent. It’s time for Gallego and President Obama to offer a serious solution to relieve consumers.”

According to the Energy Information Administration, it now costs an average of $3.75 for a gallon of unleaded gas. And Bloomberg noted that the recent runup is the quickest climb going back at least eight years in data from the American Automobile Association.

The NRCC seeks to peg the rising fuel costs to Democratic policies and says lawmakers’ “silence on an issue that affects almost every … family shows just how out of touch they truly are.”

But it’s unclear how much Congress could do to arrest the current price spike, which is largely blamed on refinery repairs, including both planned maintenance and unexpected outages, as well as an increase in the price of oil futures contracts.