As we approach Thanksgiving, the busiest travel holiday of the year, it’s hard not to notice what’s happening to gasoline prices.

A price-watching website reported over the weekend that Maine’s average gas price is $3.02 a gallon, up 29 cents from a year ago and more than 10 cents higher than last month.

At that rate, we could soon be facing prices like those seen in 2007, when $4 gasoline and home heating oil was common – until the global economic collapse resulted in falling oil prices worldwide.

Since we are not rooting for another recession to save us, we should prepare for another period of high gas prices.

What we learned in 2007 should help. High oil prices are like tax increases that suck money out of a fragile economy, but there are things that we can do to protect our state.

During the recent political campaign, most of the debate concerned electrical generation. But the two areas in which we are most vulnerable are home heating and transportation, and they have little to do with electricity. Maine is overly reliant on oil for heat, and our neediest residents are most vulnerable when prices spike.

Heating assistance programs such as the federal LIHEAP prevent absolute catastrophes, but can’t be relied upon as a statewide strategy.

Maine has invested significant amounts of federal money to make homes more energy efficient. But we should also be looking to convert more homes to other fuel sources, such as natural gas and wood pellets, which could provide less costly energy and more stable prices.

When it comes to transportation, what we learned from the last gasprice spike is that Mainers are interested in transportation alternatives if they exist.

There was increased demand for carpooling and van services, and that demand probably would have continued to increase if the price of gas had continued to climb.

There are low-cost ways in which the state could expand commuter bus services, and more costly long-term commuter train services that would also make sense in a higher gas-price environment.

It’s not too soon for the state to consider ways to shape its heating and transportation plans to prepare for an era of high gas prices.

Otherwise, it would be unfortunate if Mainers could not benefit from an economic recovery because high energy costs are smothering any economic growth.