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Patriotic answer to $4-a-gallon gas: Drive less, and slow down

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But – and there always seems to be a "but" – all of those ideas take time. Five years to build substantial wind farms. Ten years to tap Arctic oil.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal has published predictions that a barrel of oil could reach $200 as soon as the end of this year. If that happens, gasoline would hit $6 a gallon.

Woe is us.

Or maybe not.

Instead, the time may be ripe for individual citizen action – like the Minutemen of 1775. After all, isn't that how we got this great country started 233 years ago?

There are two steps we can take right away that could have greater impact than oil from the Arctic. They are so simple and straightforward that they are seldom mentioned. But Americans took these steps during World War II, and they worked.

First, drive slower.

Second, drive less.

The savings of gasoline from these two steps would be phenomenal. (More on that in a moment.)

During World War II, Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt mandated a nationwide 35 m.p.h. speed limit. At that time, 35 m.p.h. was the most efficient speed for autos. Even more important, it helped preserve automobile tires, which was crucial because Japan had cut off American access to natural rubber from Southeast Asia.

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