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Getting the story straight on effect of high gas prices

Regarding the Aug. 31 article "Drivers seek ways to save at the pump": Another way to save on gas is to ride an e-bike - a bicycle with an electrical motor that can assist when pedaling gets difficult on hills. My husband and I have one, and we've used it to get our exercise in the morning on the way to work and school. It also makes it possible to avoid rush-hour traffic on city streets. And in places where it's notoriously and chronically difficult to find free, close parking, finding a place to put a bike is usually easy in comparison.
Michaela Stephens
Chandler, Ariz.

Regarding your Aug. 26 editorial "Finding Solace in $3-a-gallon gas": Your designation of the Fischer Tropsch procedure for liquidation of Coal as "Nazi technology" disqualifies unjustly the work of German geniuses. It was not the Nazi ideology that made those inventions. In fact the procedure was used for quite some time in East Germany after the war as well, and as you correctly state is very successfully used by Sassol (SSL) in South Africa today. It will be used much more as crude reserves dwindle.
Manfred Söllinger
Essen, Germany

In reference to the Aug. 26 cover article, "Gas prices too high? Try Europe," and also the excellent related editorial in the same issue: I, too, cheer the high price of gasoline here in the United States! It may be the one thing that finally wakes up our short-sighted, wasteful nation, the impetus we need to finally give some serious thought to a long-term solution that includes alternative fuels, better mass transit, reduced travel, and more thoughtful purchases. Bring on the high prices and the changes that will benefit us all.
Judith Lindsey
Candia, N.H.

The flaw with the Aug. 26 editorial, "Finding solace in $3-a-gallon gas" is that as the price of energy rises, the price of the alternatives will also rise. Very little, if any, of the manufacturing of the hardware for the alternatives (e.g., solar panels and all the related wiring, inverters, support structures, batteries, or wind towers, turbines, blades, gears, etc.) is done by facilities that don't rely on fossil fuels. As the operating energy costs of these facilities rise, so will the cost of these products. The analysis of the profitability of alternatives needs to be conducted in units of energy (kilocalories), not dollars.
Philip Bogdonoff
Washington

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