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Cary Brunswick

May 31, 2008

This time, let's control our energy

Now that gasoline has reached that $4-a-gallon plateau, which we'll find is more of an ascending slope than we thought, most people are not reacting with the anger or resolve that I had expected.

Maybe, deep down, they knew it had to happen, and that while oil reserves may have peaked, prices surely have not.

Now the talk is that gas could hit $5 a gallon by the end of the year, and we can only imagine the nightmare come winter when the cost of a barrel of oil is translated into heating bills.

Of course, as usual it is the low- and middle-income people who are being hurt the most, not only at the pumps and furnaces, but with other common ``essentials'' as the cost of fuel sends the prices of goods skyward.

Still, far too many people are driving around in _ and filling up _ the big SUVs and pickups that they've been convinced to buy by a marketing system based on profit and not on a planned energy policy that should have been instituted long ago.

Sure, we can curse at the oil companies making their multibillion-dollar profits every quarter, but in a corporate republic the government is not going to control such legalized larceny. Whether that changes after the election will show us just who's really running this country.

Clearly not the president, whose Oscar-worthy jawboning at his buddies in Saudi Arabia has done nothing to affect oil production or prices. Obviously not Congress, which has been helpless to control gas and fuel prices, and oil company profits.

One move we haven't seen lawmakers try yet is a gasoline equivalent of HEAP, the federal initiative that helps low-income people pay their heating bills during the winter. Perhaps, especially during an election year, somebody ought to propose TEAP, or transportation, rather than home, energy assistance program.

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Cary Brunswick

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