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Bartlett says Get used to gas prices

April 16, 2005|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

daniels@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Get used to it and travel smarter.

That was the advice U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., offered the American public in the face of rising gas prices not likely to return to levels seen before the war in Iraq.

"Buy more fuel-efficient cars and share a car with someone else," said Bartlett, who drives a hybrid 2001 Toyota Prius. "If we're at peak oil, which means that production is going to level out while demand continues to increase, we have to drastically reduce the oil (consumption) from not the level we'd like to use in the future, but the level we're using right now."

Bartlett spoke about the issue of climbing gas prices Friday before participating in a conference at Children's Village of Washington County. Bartlett attended the event to present a $16,100 Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters - Fire Prevention and Safety Program grant to Children's Village officials.

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The grant, in conjunction with a $7,000 match provided by Columbia Gas, will allow between 600 and 700 second-grade students from two Franklin County, Pa., elementary schools to attend the village's five-hour police and fire training program free of charge.

Bartlett, who addressed fellow congressmen on the topic of oil consumption during a House of Representatives session March 14, said he is bothered by the reluctance of national and world leaders to recognize the world's demand for oil soon will outpace its supply. He said the situation presents a multitude of problems, not the least of which being the scorn other world leaders might hold for the United States because it uses 25 percent of the world's oil, but has only 2 percent of the world's oil reserves.

The situation, he said, will come to a head. The only question is at what point national and world leaders decide to intervene, he said.

"This oil thing is probably going to be the major concern for every country in the world, as soon as people recognize it's a problem," he said. "There will be a recognition. We hope it's early enough to avoid a lot of the trauma."

Bartlett also said he is hoping for the passage of legislation that will move the tax-filing deadline to the first Monday in November. Doing so, he said, likely would influence the outcome of general elections held the first Tuesday in November.

"You would pay your taxes on Monday and, (with that memory fresh in your mind), you would vote on Tuesday," he said. "I think people, after they pay their taxes, are going to want to vote for people who spend less money. More people will vote, and I think they will vote differently."

Bartlett previously introduced the legislation in 2003, but that bill did not emerge from the Ways and Means Committee. He reintroduced the bill on Feb. 1, and it once again has been referred to Ways and Means, where it currently is.

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