A gas nozzle in the fuel port of a car.
A gas nozzle in the fuel port of a car. - 
Listen To The Story

Jeremy Hobson: Well the price of oil may be falling as a result of the events in Japan. But gas prices are hitting new highs. Hawaii has become the first state with a gas price average of more than $4 a gallon.

Marketplace's Alisa Roth reports on the politics of pump prices.

Alisa Roth: The Obama administration has been pushing all kinds of climate change legislation. It was already unclear which way some Democrats in the Senate would go. And now there's concern that high gas prices will push them to vote against the administration's proposals.

Daniel Weiss directs climate strategy at the Center for American Progress. He says it doesn't matter that politicians don't cause high gas prices.

Daniel Weiss: As gasoline prices rise, so does voters' angst. As voter angst rise, politicians become much more cautious.

That's especially true in an election year. Frank O'Donnell is president of Clean Air Watch. He says the many Democratic senators who are up for re-election next year are acutely aware of that, and Republicans are taking advantage of their anxiety by blaming Democrats for the high gas prices.

Frank O'Donnell: The question is, will that kind of demagoguery get them to try to undermine the EPA's attempts to do something about greenhouse gas emissions?

And other climate issues.

I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.