ll-time-highs and broken records are usually the stuff of happy headlines, but some recent headlines have been more ominous than happy because they report the national average price of gasoline hit a record $1.75 per gallon and was still heading north last week.

Of course, this is an average. According to AAA, prices have not reached record levels all over.

But rising gas prices are a double-edged sword for travel at any time. High prices at the pump can sometimes get people out of the family car and into airplanes, cruise ships and motorcoaches, but many hospitality firms and tourist attractions depend on the drive market, too. Also, the same forces that put upward pressure on gasoline prices are working their magic on jet fuel and other forms of energy, making things tough all over.

The one thing we don't want is for things to be tough all over, once again. So if conserving energy will help bring prices down, by all means, feel free to conserve.

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Gaining an hour, or two

ost of us in the U.S. just did our annual "spring forward" thing, advancing our clocks as if reaching ahead for summer, grabbing more of the sun. We appreciate the extra light because it allows us more time to be out and about. For the travel business, that can't be bad.

But lest we forget, there is an energy issue here, too. The very idea of what we now call daylight-saving time is said to have originated with the ever-thrifty Benjamin Franklin, who figured out that advancing the clock in summer would conserve candle wax.

Three decades ago, during the energy crisis, daylight-saving time was extended throughout most of 1974 and 1975 and, in both years, the result was a measurable reduction in energy usage. And three decades before that, during World War II, the U.S. set its clocks ahead a full two hours to conserve fuel.

We're better off now than we were then. Still, having just gained an hour, what would you think about keeping it a while longer, or even gaining another?

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Liberty

he Statue of Liberty was designed to be seen from the outside. Those who were lucky enough to make it to the crown got a special treat, but they would likely be the first to acknowledge that this is not a structure designed for the mass movement of people.

The Interior Department's new plan for managing the site does not include a resumption of public access to the interior of the statue. This is a sad turn, but unlike some seemingly arbitrary security rules we have seen, this decision strikes us as a prudent move based on a sensible assessment of the statue's fire safety and evacuation features -- or lack thereof.

In explaining the new plan, Interior Secretary Gail Norton explained that "safety of citizens and preservation of the statue are our main goals." So, for now, the steps will be spared the pitter-patter of excited feet.

It's a price we'll pay, for now.

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