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Opinion: Debate: The best remedy for soaring gas prices?

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The national average price of gasoline is quickly approaching $4 a gallon, and has long passed that mark in several parts of country, including L.A. County. At this rate, in fact, $4 per gallon might seem like a steal to many Angelenos. As we head into the summer driving season, lawmakers are presenting several solutions to ease the pain at the pump. The problem, however, is getting Republicans and Democrats to agree on a solution when they hold such drastically different views on energy policies and environmental issues.

In a news story by Richard Simon, he outlines legislation passed by the House on Thursday, which boils down to ‘Drill, baby, drill’ off the coast of Virgina for the first time in decades and deal with new drilling safeguards later.

A Republican view:

‘Under the law of supply and demand, which my friends across the aisle have not found a way to repeal, more supply means lower prices,’ said Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.).

A Democrat view:

‘What’s really going on?’ said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). ‘It’s market manipulation, price gouging, profiteering and speculation, but the Republicans won’t take on their benefactors from Big Oil and Wall Street.’

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The Opinion section recently featured an Op-Ed article about the best way to bring down the price of gas, in which Dan Becker and James Gerstenzang of Safe Climate Campaign wrote that there’s no magic wand, but there is a long-term solution. Rather than increase drilling, reduce it by creating a law that forces automakers to build more fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly vehicles.

Increase domestic oil production by opening up more offshore drilling operations? That won’t work either: Projects would take years to come on stream and would only increase our oil addiction, the heart of the problem. As for the environment, wasn’t it only a year ago that BP’s Gulf of Mexico disaster brought home once again how risky offshore drilling can be?[…]This is auto mechanics, not rocket science. Automakers have the ability today to deliver more efficient vehicles by utilizing such existing technologies as high-strength lightweight steel, advanced transmissions and fuel-sipping engines in conventionally powered vehicles. And they can also offer more hybrids and electric vehicles.

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--Alexandra Le Tellier


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