POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Menendez calls on Trump to act on spiking gas prices

BY David Cruz, Senior Correspondent |

In the run up to the Memorial Day weekend, gas prices have been spiking. You’ve probably noticed, and so has U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, who Friday stopped by the Vince Lombardi rest stop hoping to raise the ire of the motoring public.

“The price at the pump has gone up a nickle in the last week, nearly 20 cents in the last month and 62 cents since this time last year,” noted Menendez. “So it may not seem like much to some, but a few cents here, a few cents there, over time it adds up to hundreds of dollars siphoned out of family’s paychecks straight into the coffers of big oil.”

In fact, the price of gas in the state went up 10 cents this morning. And, as the senator noted, higher gas prices not only hit you when you go to the pump, but it’s also baked into the cost of just about everything, from weekly groceries to contractors. Menendez says he would reintroduce the ban on exporting U.S. oil overseas, 20 percent of which comes from public lands.

“It’s time for oil companies to pass on some of their massive windfall from the Trump tax bill to consumers,” he said. “In 2017 alone, the 17 largest oil and gas companies raked in $25 billion in tax breaks from the Trump tax cuts.”

Motorists know the drill by now. Holiday season usually means higher gas prices. One Pennsylvania family we talked to was trying to make it through New Jersey without having to fill up again. We asked how much gas prices play a role in how they plan vacations. “Not a lot,” said one. “If we have something going on, we say ‘OK, we’re going to have to go’ and whatever the gas prices are, we pay them.”

And small businesses? They feel it, too. One contractor told us he fills his 30-gallon gas tank three times a week.

Democrats across the country have taken aim at gas prices this week, Menendez had a similar event at a gas station in D.C. this week, hoping to smear the president with big oil. But the senator found himself answering his own political questions Friday, about a new FDU poll that has his lead over Republic Bob Hugin down to four points. The senator urged us to consider the source.

“The poll is a total outlier to every other public poll that there’s been. The amount of undecided is at 46, 48 percent,” noted Menendez. “In every other poll they were in the teens, so you’ll all have to judge whether a poll is actually on point or is an outlier.”

Menendez says he’s not worried about Hugin and that, when it comes to the race for Senate, he’s got a lot left in his tank, even if it’s going to cost a little more for him to get across the finish line.