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Richard Newell on Gas Prices

Interviewee: Richard Newell
Interviewer: Toni Johnson
January 15, 2008

U.S. gasoline prices are on the rise again. With the 2008 U.S. presidential elections on the horizon, some voters are asking what candidates intend to do about it. Richard G. Newell, an energy economist, says candidates may be hesitant to get get specific on policies for gas prices because there is not a lot the new president will be able to do in the near term. “A politician doesn’t want to say, ‘well there’s nothing I can do, this is just the reality of supply and demand, and we’ll just have to live with it,’” he notes. “That’s hard for a politician to say.” In the longer term, he says many of the things a new president might do are already in place, such as raising fuel economy standards and encouraging biofuel production. The main way for the next president improve the gas price situation, he says, is supporting more research for truly viable and inexpensive alternatives to petroleum.

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