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How Do Lawmakers Plan To Fix Rising Gas Prices?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The average price of gas is hovering just below $4 per gallon at $3.95.

That's 60 cents higher than it was just a month ago.

With the war in Ukraine escalating, gas prices are only expected to continue rising. The crisis is generating some specific proposals to help consumers.

Gov. Tim Walz and Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin, along with four other Democratic governors, are asking the president to suspend the 18-cent-a-gallon federal gas tax for the rest of the year. Walz says he is also open to suspending the state taxes on gas. Together the state and federal taxes in Minnesota amount to 46 cents a gallon.

Many Republicans have labeled these calls for a gas tax holiday an election-year gimmick that would not help the underlying problem.

Another proposal supported in a letter to the president from a bipartisan group of senators, including Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, would be to allow the sale of E15 gas during the summer months. The year-round sale of E15, with its 15% ethanol corn-based fuel, would also help farmers.

Smith is on the Senate agriculture committee.

"Our strength and our ability to withstand these disruptions in fossil fuel prices is going to be enhanced if we build out our clean energy supplies here at home, that includes of course wind and solar for power, but it also includes biofuels," she said.

But E15 does not a get a clean bill of health from everyone. There has been some evidence that the higher ethanol content could damage engines. E15 supporters say it should be restricted to cars made after 2001. E15 does provide cleaner emissions, although critics point out the benefit is offset by lower fuel economy. And right now E15 is also harder to find as it's only carried by a estimated 2,000 gas stations across the country.

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