Gas prices out of control? Seven ways lawmakers could help – or hurt.

Gas prices are approaching $4 a gallon and oil prices are above $100 a barrel, leading politicians in Washington and statehouses to propose a flurry of legislation. Some proposals strive to quell voter angst while others might balance budgets by raising gas prices.

States raising gasoline taxes

Though at odds with the pain-at-the-pump sentiment in Congress, balanced budget rules are forcing states to look every which way to plug spending gaps – or cut programs.

New gasoline tax proposals have popped up in four states, and three other oil-producing states "are also beginning to look at ways to capture value," according to a new report by ClearView Energy, a Washington-based market research company.

"Counterintuitive as it may seem, we expect ... state-level taxation to become more likely if oil prices remain high, a function of deepening budget holes and eye-popping quarterly reports."

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