The government will try to diversify energy sources by promoting and supporting electric-drive vehicle development and biofuel use as a longer-term solution instead of directly addressing gas prices, Chu said. House Republicans have been critical of the federal government for its alt-fuel investments.
Tension over fueling costs continues to rise along with gas prices, which jumped 27 percent last year to $3.53 a gallon. This year, gas prices are up further, to about $3.75 a gallon for regular unleaded gas, according to the AAA. The Associated Press reported earlier this year that 2011 car refueling costs accounted for the highest percentage of a typical household's budget in three decades.
Still, one environmentalist website says things could be worse. TreeHugger estimates that, factoring government subsidies and intangible effects such as environmental damage and medical costs from people's respiratory issues, the "true" cost of gas is closer to $15 a gallon.