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      Can anything be done about Albany's high gas prices?

      Gas prices continue to rise across the nation and Southwest Georgia is no exception. But what TMs really behind the price hikes and what "if anything " can be done about it?

      The average price for a gallon of gasoline in Georgia is $3.46. That TMs a few cents less than the national average of $3.51 and almost 50 cents less than California TMs high of $3.90 - but it still hurts.

      "Supply and demand affects gas prices more than any one thing," said Darton College Political Science Professor Roger Marietta.

      Marietta believes there TMs more to higher gas prices than what TMs showing at the pump. "We TMve been fortunate, really, that oil hasn TMt really kept up with inflation," he said.

      Marietta also cites economic data that shows the average price for a gallon of gasoline in 1981 would be $3.24 when adjusted for inflation " not far from current prices. But he also warns that over the long term, higher gas prices could throw the economy back into recession. That possibility has many calling on President Obama to tap into U.S. oil reserves, which contain 727 barrels of crude.

      "It TMs an option we are considering but there are a number of factors that go into it," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. "It TMs not price-based alone."

      "People expect President Obama to do something, whether it be tap into the national energy reserve or to intervene in Libya," added Marietta.

      Marietta says there may not ever be a time when the U.S. is completely independent of fossil fuels. He does, however, see a potential silver lining in the black cloud of higher oil prices. "It makes some of these alternative energy systems more feasible," said Marietta. "They TMre more economically viable. We can absorb a little bit of a temporary price increase even if it is a rapid price increase without too much damage."