Average price of regular gasoline drops as Fourth of July approaches

Posted at: 07/03/2013 1:00 PM
By: Gary Strieker, NBC News | WHEC.com

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For many years, gas prices tend to rise as the Fourth of July holiday approaches. This year, the average price of a gallon of regular gas has fallen by about eight-cents over the past week to just below $3.50.
In Rochester, gas is $3.65 a gallon and in California, gas is still just above $4 a gallon. The prices have some vacationers rethinking travel plans and opening their minds to renewable fuels.
AAA says not quite as many of us will be traveling by car this holiday -- an estimated 300,000 fewer than last year.   
In a recent independent survey by Research Now, 55-percent of Americans say they are likely to take fewer road trips if the price of gas rises this summer. That same survey also sought opinions about renewable fuels.
Unlike fossil fuels which are a limited resource, renewables are derived from sustainable crops -- like corn, the source of most of today's ethanol -- or the next generation of fuel crops like switchgrass. Other ethanol sources include wood waste products or even garbage.    
More than 60-percent of those surveyed believe renewables would reduce the cost of gasoline and three out of four want more renewable fuel options at the pump.    
In spite of the domestic oil boom, gas prices have not decreased and public support for alternatives generally rises when the price does. So as independence is celebrated on this Fourth of July, many Americans now see renewable fuels as essential to future of energy independence and cheaper gas.  
Just last week, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the oil and gas industry's challenge to higher-ethanol blends of gasoline.
The renewable fuel industry has pushed for those higher ethanol blends, but the oil and gas industry says the higher blends can damage today's car engines and require infrastructure changes that would increase gas prices.

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