The political debate over gas prices appears to be complicating Democratic efforts to compare the standoff over federal transportation spending to last year’s shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration.

With gas prices on the rise, some Republican strategists think voters might welcome at least a temporary 18.4 cent-per-gallon break on the cost of filling up their gas tanks.

“A stalled highway bill could cause short-term relief from gas price pain for millions of Americans who aren’t thinking about the ramifications,” former Senate Republican Conference Chief of Staff Ron Bonjean said in an email.

Few people in Washington are arguing that Congress should eliminate the gas tax altogether. But if lawmakers do not agree on at least a temporary extension that is what would happen on March 31 until lawmakers end their logjam.