S u n d ay ,December 11,2011 co mm er ci a l a pp ea l.com
E D I TO R I A L
A squeeze on the American dream
In these tough economic times, the last thingAmericans need to hear is that gasoline pricescould rise to record levels next year.A combination of global demand and risingU.S. fuel exports could ignite the price surge,according to analysts.According to the Department of Energy,average gasoline prices are higher by nearly 56cents per gallon than at this time last year.The possible hike is a scary proposition asAmerica struggles with persistent highunemployment, and more and more Americansstruggle to pay their mortgages and put food onthe table. Higher prices could squeeze morecitizens out of the American dream.A practical short-term solution is forAmericans to drive less and, for those who canafford it, buy more fuel-efficient vehicles.What is needed is development of alternativeenergy sources, such as biofuels - energyproducts generated from agriculture - that candrive the shift from oil consumption.Those sources must be sustainable,renewable and affordable.By the way, Tennessee, through theUniversity of Tennessee Biofuels Initiative, hasinvested heavily in biofuels research.Significant progress in those efforts on amass scale appears to be years away.In the immediate future, consumers can helpsave on fuel costs by considering hybrids orelectric vehicles.Right now, though, the cost and size ofelectric vehicles, along with the relatively shortdriving ranges, make them impractical forfamilies that can only afford one vehicle.As the supply of the vehicles increases,however, it's reasonable to expect prices to drop.Right now, the specter of $4-plus-a-gallongasoline will be a perpetual economic nightmarefor families looking for ways to cut costs.
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