Who's Getting Mileage Out of Gas?

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: With the country in an uproar over the price of gas, Republicans seeking to make some political hay are placing the blame on President Clinton for passing a 1993 gasoline tax increase. House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Tuesday threatened a House vote on the tax issue by Memorial Day., while Senator Bob Dole fired off a letter to Clinton proposing a repeal of the tax surcharge. Clinton said that he would consider it, and then added the weight of the White House to the gas price increase issue. He ordered the sale of 12 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to keep gasoline prices from inching higher and called on Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary to report within 45 days about "some of the factors that led to the run-up in prices." Meanwhile, Attorney General Janet Reno is reviewing request by several members of Congress to investigate if any illegal price gouging is the reason for the increase at the pump. "Everyone is trying to make political hay from this right now," says TIME's Michael Duffy. "But it is unlikely that anyone will really gain any advantage from rising gasoline prices. It is not a great and lasting presidential election year issue."