Heller ad promotes bill to cut gas taxes

Sen. Dean Heller's latest television commercial places the auto buff in the comfort zone of his garage, where he promotes a bill he introduced in March that aimed to reduce gasoline prices.

The 30-second ad that can be seen statewide is the second positive spot that dresses the Republican incumbent senator in shirtsleeves to deliver a populist message. As well, a campaign aide said the classic car in the commercial indeed belongs to Heller, the son of a Carson City engine mechanic.

The spot opens with Heller cleaning grease from his hands. As Heller stands up from under the hood, he notes he has voted against a "cap and trade" carbon regulation bill that critics derided as an "energy tax" that would raise fuel prices.

Not only did he vote against it, "I took it a step forward. I wrote the Gas Price Relief Act," Heller tells the camera, rag and wrench in hand. It would have eliminated some oil company tax loopholes "and passed those savings directly to you in lower taxes at the pump."

The "Gas Price Relief Act" made a brief splash when it was introduced in March but hasn't advanced in Congress.

At the time it was introduced, the legislation was seen as Heller's response to charges by Democratic opponent Rep. Shelley Berkley that he was too friendly with "Big Oil," having voted multiple times not to eliminate industry tax benefits.

The "Gas Price Relief Act" served to inoculate Heller on that point, showing he was willing to take on oil company tax breaks as long as the resulting revenue benefited consumers.

But the "Gas Price Relief Act" hasn't gotten to a vote. Its call to repeal some oil industry tax breaks angered fellow Republicans, and Democrats weren't about to go near it because of other controversial provisions.

The gasoline tax cut was only part of the measure that also pushed buttons on the most divisive energy issues in Congress.

Heller's bill would have opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy exploration and forced the Obama administration to schedule offshore oil lease sales. It also would have approved the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Heller at the time said his bill was a "common sense, all of the above" energy strategy that would create jobs and increase domestic energy supplies.

"This is an issue that Congress has ignored for far too long." Heller said when he introduced the measure.