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Pain at the pump is pain in the rump

There’s an old saying that states the only thing certain in life are death and taxes.

We need to add soaring gas prices to that list.

Gas (unleaded regular) finally went above $4 a gallon last week in the Ahoskie area. It had flirted with the four dollar mark for several weeks before finally topping that figure on Wednesday.

What’s even worse is there’s no relief in sight, especially with the Democrats in charge. Even the new golden child on the Democratic scene, Barack Obama, doesn’t have the correct answer to soaring gas prices and he may indeed be our next President.

While everyone wants to point the finger of blame at President Bush, since he’s from Texas where oil wells are as numerous as crooked politicians in Raleigh, let’s not forget where gas prices stood two years ago. Just before the mid-term elections in 2006, one where the Democrats took control of Washington, gas was priced at $2.75 per gallon.

Now the Democrats figure the best way out of the mess they created is to tax the big oil companies on their record profits. The last time that occurred, President Jimmy Carter was in office and those of us old enough remember the fuel embargo of the mid-1970’s and the long lines to purchase gas.

I don’t know about you, but I would prefer not to go through that again. But we don’t have to if we’ll put away the petty politics and drill right here at home.

Domestic oil production is a naughty phrase for the Democrats. Apparently, they’re all a bunch a tree-hugging, frog-kissing environmentalists who would rather watch their fellow Americans suffer than to upset the habitat of the spotted owl, spotted seal and Spot the Wonder Dog.

The last time I looked, humans were at the top of the food chain. We should be looking out for number one.

Now don’t get me wrong. Everything within reason should be done to protect the environment, but we have the means and the technology to drill for oil domestically without harming Mother Nature’s delicate balance.

By committing to an increase in the domestic supply of gas and oil, we could stabilize the oil market, thus reducing the cost per barrel and lessen our dependence on foreign oil.

Did you know that, according to research, there are an estimated 1.5 billion barrels of oil or equivalent gas in the Manteo Prospect, located about 45 miles northeast of Cape Hatteras in Federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf? But yet there is a moratorium on any drilling (thanks to the Democrats) in that area.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Republic of China, under license from Cuba, is already engaged in exploration for oil and gas off the coast of Florida while we sit on our duffs and shell out four bucks a gallon for gas.

We’re all hurting, especially those, like us, who live in rural areas and must drive further to work.

Higher gas prices over the last year have increased the expense of operating a family vehicle by an estimated $2,000 per year, per vehicle, thereby reducing the funds available to working families for food, clothing, shelter, recreation and other items.

In the first quarter of 2008, families spent, on average, 4.0 percent of their after-tax income on gasoline, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 1983.

Please join me in lobbying our elected leaders for help. If they don’t, I hope they’ll understand when the next election rolls around that we won’t be voting for anyone because we can’t afford to drive to the polls.

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be contacted at 252-332-7207 or cal.bryant@r-cnews.com.