Free Markets Keep Fuel Flowing, Lights Glowing

Cal Thomas | Syndicated columnist | Thursday, August 09, 2001

Free Markets Keep Fuel Flowing, Lights Glowing

This was supposed to be the summer of discontent. By now, New York and Los Angeles were supposed to be in the dark. Gasoline prices were supposed to be soaring to near $3 per gallon. Misery should have returned.

Instead, gas prices have fallen as much as 30 cents a gallon in some areas, and, the last I checked, the lights are still on in L.A. and New York City. What happened? A number of things: First, higher prices at the beginning of summer fueled incentive to search for new energy. Power plants came on line. Second, Arab oil producers kept the tap open and the oil flowed. Competition helped keep prices low. And there is hope that new energy sources will be developed in previously off-limits areas with new technology safely extracting oil from the ground.

Free markets, not government regulation, contribute to lower prices and higher availability of energy. So does conservation, when needed. The hype was political and should be seen as such. If we could develop more energy on American territory, we would be less dependent on foreign oil in the future.