Legislators and consumers should drive toward change.
When it's miserably hot outside, no one needs higher gas prices to add to the pain.
So, considering the recent run of days over 100 degrees — and the toll such weather takes in higher utility bills for those who crank up the air conditioning — it was a bit of a relief to see gas prices on the decline locally.
According to AAA's website, the average price of a gallon of unleaded gas Monday in Garden City was $3.40. The price reflected a trend that saw the national average price at the pump fall for 20 consecutive days.
By Wednesday, however, the average price in Kansas had inched up a bit — a sign that fuel costs could once again be headed in the wrong direction.
Gas prices are volatile at best. Still, with a presidential election on the horizon, look for any rise in the cost of a gallon of gas to generate more finger-pointing and misleading promises of a quick fix.
Republican hopeful Mitt Romney's team no doubt will blame President Obama for any rise in prices at the pump, even though it was impossible for the Obama administration to cure a problem with gas prices that took decades to create.
The best we could hope for moving forward would be in the candidates promising to work toward bipartisan solutions. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle need to commit to workable policies that lead to increased production of domestic energy resources and reduced dependence on foreign oil.
But above all, the goal has to be finding ways to slow demand. Too many Americans still pull up to the pump in gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles and trucks, then complain about the cost of filling up.
To get on the right track, putting more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road, and also converting more vehicle fleets to the use of abundant natural gas would make sense.
When it comes to gas prices, we expect politicians to blow plenty of hot air. Until Americans change their habits and lawmakers agree to work toward meaningful change, we might as well settle in and endure more painful spikes in the price of gas that are sure to come.