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President Bush is urging Congress to end a decades-old ban on offshore oil drilling in response to consumer anxiety over record-high gas prices.
“Every American who drives to work, purchases food or ships a product has felt the effect. And families across our country are looking to Washington for a response,” Bush said.
The push by Bush and Republican presidential candidate John McCain to lift the ban could find plenty of support. About 60 percent of Americans surveyed in a Reuters/Zogby poll said they would favor government efforts to boost domestic drilling and refinery construction.
Roughly the same amount said they would back efforts to reduce domestic demand through tougher fuel-efficiency standards.
A surge in gasoline prices is forcing many to rethink their daily commute to work.
Some private employers as well as local governments are offering a four-day week as a perk that eliminates two commutes a week. In the automaking heartland, the shorter workweek offers employers a way of rewarding employees when the budget does not allow a salary increase.
More Americans are leaving their cars at home and jumping on buses, trains and trolleys as retail gasoline prices approach $4 per gallon, the American Public Transportation Association said in a report.
“There’s no doubt that the high gas prices are motivating people to change their travel behavior,” APTA president William W. Millar said. (For the full story, click here.)