Gas prices fact check: Six ideas in Congress, but can they work?

Soaring gas prices have all sorts of deleterious economic effects: lighter wallets, a drag on a still-recovering economy, and more petrodollars flowing into the coffers of foreign governments. But they have also shown a consistent and significant ability to do one other thing: push members of Congress over the deep end.

“It’s like vaudeville or burlesque,” says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. “It’s a clown car of different things that are being said in response” to rising prices. Here's the experts' take on six ideas floating through Congress – and one that isn't.

By , Staff writer

1. Stop subsidies to oil companies

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    Rep. Steve Israel (D) of New York speaks at a Capitol Hill news conference in Washington in this file photo.
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Democrats have engaged in some flights of energy fancy, experts say. For example, Rep. Steve Israel (D) of New York tweeted his remedies to higher gas prices: “Need sensible approach to lower gas prices: stop subsidies, fight speculation, tap into" the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has already questioned the effect of stopping subsidies. Eliminating $4 billion in subsidies for a multitrillion dollar industry would result in impacts of only a “small scale,” it said. 

Moreover, those effects would potentially raise prices, it added: Ending subsidies would “have the effect of decreasing exploration, development, and production, while increasing prices and increasing the nation's foreign oil dependence."

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