TULSA, Okla. (AP) —
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is dangling the prospect of gas as low as $2 a gallon if he's elected.
The former House speaker has spoken in the past of gas dropping to $2.50 a gallon under a Gingrich administration. Monday's prediction, coming as Gingrich campaigned in Oklahoma, contrasts sharply with rival Rick Santorum, who told an Ohio audience that big-city Americans should brace themselves for $5-a-gallon gas.
Both candidates are citing new sensitivity over rising pump prices to push for relaxed regulation on domestic oil production.
According to AAA's daily fuel gauge, the national average Monday for a gallon of regular gas was $3.56.
Gingrich and Santorum have been highlighting oil exploration in North Dakota and slamming the Obama administration for delaying a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich dangled the prospect of gas as low as $2 a gallon if he's elected, playing off voter angst about rising prices at the pump.
Monday's prediction came as Gingrich campaigned in Oklahoma, where the oil and natural gas sector is vital to a bustling state economy.
"With Gingrich policies, what we know is we will dramatically expand our independence in the world market, dramatically expand our capacity to produce energy without regard to our foreign potential enemies and in the process prices will clearly be a lot lower," Gingrich said. "Now, I picked $2.50 as a stabilizing price for capital investment reasons. It could easily go down to $2."
According to AAA's daily fuel gauge, a gallon of regular gas was approaching $4 in some places and even topped it in California. The national average was $3.56 per gallon.
Gingrich boasted that gas cost as little as $1.13 per gallon when he led the House and that the national average was below $2 when Obama was inaugurated.
"Why do we have this assumption all of a sudden, 'oh gee, that's the distant past,'" Gingrich said. "He hasn't been president that long."
Santorum focused on fears of prices climbing to record highs while campaigning in Ohio.
The former Pennsylvania senator blamed Obama for failing to drill aggressively for more oil and gas in the U.S.
Santorum said the economy has begun to improve slightly but "all of a sudden we're going to be hit with the same force of wind that hit us in 2008, in the summer, that caused us to go into a recession, all because of the radical environmentalist policies of this president."
Gingrich and Santorum have been highlighting oil exploration in North Dakota and slamming the Obama administration for delaying a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline they say could mean cheaper fuel.
Associated Press writer Charles Babington contributed from Steubenville, Ohio.