In a Nov. 23 editorial, “Maine should prepare for higher oil prices,” The Press Herald made an important point highlighting the vulnerability of Mainers to volatile gas prices, and rightly noted some ways we could improve our ability to cope.

With rising prices, gas stations become especially painful, and on Thanksgiving Mainers were driving to visit friends and families in cars that gobble up too much gas, unnecessarily stretching our wallets, not to mention threatening our environment.

Recognizing this, President Obama has a unique opportunity to help jump-start Maine’s economy, break our dependence on oil, and cut carbon pollution by setting strong new fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.

Just getting from point A to point B consumes more than half the oil used in the United States, so using existing technology to make more efficient vehicles is the easiest way to cut our dependence on oil and save Mainers money at the pump.

In fact, if the average car went 60 miles per gallon, Mainers would have saved $911,000 on gas costs just this Thanksgiving travel week! That’s $12 per family – enough to have brought a few extra pumpkin pies to dinner.

And that’s just the savings from one holiday. Driving is getting tougher on Mainers’ wallets. Obama should seize this opportunity to put American ingenuity to work by calling for cars and light trucks to get 60 miles to the gallon by 2025.

On future Thanksgivings, cleaner cars would help us all focus on clearing our plates, not clearing out our wallets at the gas pump.