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The yo-yo of high gas prices 

Here we are again, suffering through high gas prices because oil is above $100 per barrel. This happened in 1973, 1978, and several times since. Every time this happens, we conserve more, we buy cars getting better mileage (or today, electric cars), and our oil companies frantically drill for more oil. Over several years, demand goes down, supply goes up, and the price falls. Then people buy gas-guzzlers again, electric car companies go out of business, and oil companies quit pumping from high-cost wells. Demand goes up, supply goes down, and we are back where we started. This yo-yo of prices harms everyone—car companies, oil companies, alternative energy companies, and consumers.

Here is a way out. When prices are low, establish a tariff on imported oil, other than from Canada and Mexico. Through this, we can keep the domestic price above a certain price, say $60 per barrel. The lower the international market price of oil, the higher the tariff. This encourages our own production of energy, a continuation of conservation, and continuing development of alternative energy sources. When the market price goes above $60 per barrel, the tariff goes away. This way the tariff does not contribute to unnecessary pain at the pump. The whip-saw stops.

With domestic production, continued conservation, and continued development of alternative sources, we will be self-sufficient and no longer be hostage to Middle Eastern monarchs or Russian dictators. And the environment will benefit as well.

Allen Pritzlaff

San Luis Obispo

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