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Published: Wednesday, 12/24/2008


MOTORISTS who cursed when pulling into service stations last summer now pump with glee their fillups of $20 or less. Unfortunately, the crash in gasoline prices comes courtesy of an economic downturn that is costing Americans jobs, homes, and savings.

Another consequence of the deepening recession and plummeting fuel prices is the shortsighted decision of energy companies to cancel or delay projects that explore for oil and gas.

Whatever happened to drill, baby, drill?

That was the battle cry of Republican candidates during the fall campaign. Is the energy crisis over? Has America s fossil-fuel addiction been licked?

Now that Toledoans are paying less than $1.60 for a gallon of regular gasoline, are happy days finally here again?

A sobering report in the New York Times contained the comments of analysts who believe the sudden cuts in oil exploration could lead to just-as-sudden price spikes when demand, inevitably, begins to turn up.

One of them was Peter Jackson of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, in Massachusetts who said, If we cut back dramatically on investments, we could end up in a situation where supply growth goes flat when the economy starts to recover.

Yet the International Energy Agency warns that to meet the global rise in population and affluence, the world should invest $12 trillion to raise oil and gas supplies.

Everyone wants a greener world, but to cut petroleum exploration now means consumers one day again will be seeing red.

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