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Letters from our listeners

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Kai Ryssdal: As we've been going through the e-mail's that've come in over the past couple of weeks, it's been hard to miss a general theme you all seem to have on your minds.

Whether it relates to what you drive or how often, the high price of air travel or government regulations on greenhouse gases, there are a lot of people out there preoccupied by energy prices. Shocker, I know.

Richard Johnson of Arlington, Virginia wrote in about a ride I took in an electric car. Our car guy Dan Neil from the Los Angeles Times had gotten his hands on a little thing called a Zenn car -- that's Zero Emissions, No Noise. Mr. Johnson thought Dan and I poked a little too much fun.

Richard Johnson: You referred to it as perfect for retirement communities and for old people, but not practical for the general public until gas is $10 a barrel in five or 10 years. As long as the mainstream media continue to regard electric car technology as something that only exists, and will only exist, on the fringes, nothing is going to change.

Wren Schultz is a computer programmer from Anacortes, WA, who's not even bothering with electric. He's given up driving all together and was therefore unimpressed by our mention of a guy who went without gas for a month.

Wren Schultz: You pointed out some fellow in Wisconsin who decided to give up gasoline for 31 days. To me, while this is laudable, it's totally unremarkable. I voluntarily gave up my car two years ago -- and donated it to public radio -- and have survived exclusively on public transportation since then.

Despite all the hand wringing over pump prices this spring, oil has actually dropped since Memorial Day, thanks in part, says Stephen Gilmore from Charlotte, NC, to fewer drivers and thus, lower demand.

Stephen Gilmore: This is how the free market works and why no government intervention is necessary to bring down the price of gas.

It's planes and trains as well as automobiles when you're talking about the high price of oil. Airlines are passing on some of their costs to passengers in the form of extra fees and surcharges. Our report about American Airlines charging $15 for the first checked bag got Daniel Eldridge thinking.

Daniel Eldridge: Perhaps what's needed is a multi-tiered approach along the lines of the car rental companies. One fee to check bags in, another fee to check bags out. Heck, some airlines might have a different fee structure for bags that accompany you on your flight versus bags that go at a different time or by rail.

Who knows... might work.

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