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Some call for change due to high gas prices



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Oil prices have been going down and fell again today amidst more signs of waning demand. But those prices on the world market haven't translated into lower prices at the pump in Utah.

According to AAA, Utah has the fourth highest gas prices in the country. That has many Utahns calling for change. The change they want, obviously, is the effect on their pocketbook. They're calling for lower prices at the pump.

According to a survey backed by the Utah Petroleum Association, Utahns also are calling for more drilling here at home. Those people we talked to pumping gas today were evenly split on that.

Jeff Roundy said, "I'm all for it. I know there is a lag time, but if you take action now, often that will start to affect the price."

Susan Richens said, "I think about that, but it seems so unrealistic, to be honest. I think it may be a better option to consider hybrid style cars that are more gas efficient or different energy sources all together."

That's the debate playing out through the presidential campaign and Congress. But whether we drill more onshore or off, some energy experts argue changing our driving habits will drive down demand for oil. That is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

There's proof we are driving less. According to a U.S. Department of Transportation study, Americans drove nearly 10 billion fewer miles from May last year to May this year. Some we talked with were part of that effort; others weren't.

Eric Disk said, "Since I drive for a living I can't. But I definitely feel it."

Susan Richens said, "We have completely changed our lifestyle. We carpool. We combine efforts. We never make a trip to the city unless we have three items or three places we have to go."

Susan says she doesn't expect her family to go back to the days of driving more even if gas prices take a tumble.

"It's not been a bad thing for us because we're paying more attention to what we're doing. So maybe it's a good thing in the long run," she said.

We mentioned earlier that Utah gas prices are the fourth highest in the nation. Most people want to know why. According to AAA, it has to do with our "isolation from waterways and the grid of gasoline," as well as a relatively sparse population, and lack of competition.

E-mail: lprichard@ksl.com

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