Dems Launch Campaign Highlighting Romney's Massachusetts Gas Tax Hike

Romney may want to avoid the gas price blame game, since he raised Massachusetts' gas tax while he was governor.

By + More

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney might want to tread lightly when it comes to criticizing President Barack Obama over skyrocketing gasoline prices.

In response to Romney supporter and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's attack on Obama's failure to keep gas prices low, the DNC launched a campaign calling attention to Romney's record as governor.[Read: GOP Gouges Obama on Gas Prices.]

In 2003, facing a $3 billion deficit, Romney increased his state's gasoline delivery fee from half a cent to two-and-a-half cents per gallon, raising about $60 million for the state in the process.

A Boston Globe article in 2007 called the price increase "clearly excessive," saying the tax was "implemented during the fiscal crisis without fanfare, even though it affects every motorist in the state."

Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst, says Romney was one of many governors increasing his state's gas taxes at the time. [See photos of the 2012 GOP candidates.]

"Two cents isn't a significant price increase compared to some we've seen since 2003. Although all the increases are typically passed along to drivers at the pump," DeHaan says.

The state's gas tax rose to 23 cents in Massachusetts when Romney approved the hike, but it still fell below the national average of 28.6 cents per gallon.

  • Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy.
  • See a collection of political cartoons on gas prices.
  • Obama May Use GOP Candidates' Comments Against Them.