High gas prices may be good for area

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 25, 2006

Only a few random people participated in gasoline price gouging in the hours and days following Hurricane Katrina.

We know that because the always-trustworthy government tells us so.

That&8217;s really a difficult thing to swallow, however, since our pocket books felt the pinch in September of last year &8212; the pinch is continuing.

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The Federal Trade Commission concluded that no widespread price gouging occurred after Katrina. The federal investigators chalked up the heavy increases on &8220;local market trends.&8221;

Hmm, pull the other leg, Mr. FTC. We&8217;re not buying that.

In the week after Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. average price per gallon jumped 46 cents a gallon to $3.07. Local market trends? If so, the local markets were trending up all across every locale in the country.

Despite allegedly devastating losses in production and facilities due to Katrina, last year the country&8217;s three largest oil companies &8212; Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips &8212; earned more than $63 billion.

Now we&8217;re as pro-capitalism as the next red-blooded American, but good grief, folks. That&8217;s a pretty massive increase.

The silver lining, if there is one behind the higher gas prices, is that high petroleum prices makes all of the moves to bring biofuel facilities to our area all the more attractive. Plans to extract usable energy from readily available soybeans make a heck of a lot of sense.

Wouldn&8217;t it be nice if in a few years, the Miss-Lou became the center of the renewable energy renaissance?