Gas prices good for us either way

Published 12:35 am Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Is cheap gasoline just another bit of international Kool-Aid, intended to lull us into a false sense of security?

Nearly two years ago gas prices soared immediately after the devastating one-two punch of the hurricanes that crippled the Gulf in 2005.

The storms knocked drilling platforms, pipelines and, most important, refineries.

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The skyrocketing prices pushed our country to begin seriously discussing alternative fuels sources.

Interest in coal technologies and biofuels development began hitting a fever pitch. Talking about energy independence wasn’t just politically cool, it was almost economically viable, too.

More recently, as gas prices again rose sharply, Americans quickly became interested in domestic sources of energy again.

But as quickly as the prices went up, they’ve dropped again. Americans should enjoy this latest price relief but not forget that we’re one international crisis or one madman’s whim away from being in a pickle again.

The booming economy in Asia is, experts say, likely to continue to consume more and more oil in the days ahead, which would seem to tax supplies and drive up the prices more.

And until our country pulls our head out of the sand — the sand in the Arabian Gulf — we’ll continue to be at risk.

America needs to take a step back from the gas pumps — even if the price remains below $3 per gallon — and focus our nation’s efforts on coal technologies and biofuels.

Fortunately for the Miss-Lou, either of those directions could also mean improvements in our local economy.

With Rentech poised to build at the former International Paper site and farming interests in the area, Natchez, Adams County and Concordia Parish could be big winners in the effort.