Wednesday, September 12, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 615


 
 









 

Staff Editorial



EDITORIAL BOARD

Tom Carpenter        Ken Fountain 
Nikie Johnson          Keenan Singleton       Audrey Warren



 

Alternative fuels available

President Bush announced Tuesday that he would take advantage of lower oil prices to fill up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The United States created the reserve as an emergency source of oil in case of war or another oil embargo by oil-producing nations like the embargo imposed by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in 1973, but the reserve has never been filled.

A slumping global economy has forced oil prices down and created an oil glut in the world marketplace. It's natural, especially with the climate in the world today, to focus America's attention on securing enough reserves to last through an emergency.

Bush said America would add up to 100,000 barrels of oil a day to the reserve to replenish supplies that were used last year when the United States tried to expand supplies to push prices below $30 a barrel. Oil dropped below $20 a barrel after Sept. 11.

On Wednesday in Brussels, Belgium, OPEC warned that the global oil market could face a dangerous price war unless rival producers, namely Russia and Mexico, helped to cut oil output to shore up sagging prices.

At an emergency meeting in Vienna, the cartel decided to cut production by 1.5 million barrels a day in January, but only if non-OPEC members cut production by 500,000 barrels a day.

Russia, Mexico and Norway have refused to cut production, theorizing that cheap oil will induce a global economic recovery.

Whether the oil producers cut production or not, it's a wise decision by the United States to fill its reserves at any price.

An even better move for the United States would be toward increased use of and research on alternative fuel sources.

As long as the United States is subject to the mercurial whims of OPEC, this nation will live under the threat of an oil embargo. American consumers and businesses will be at the mercy of nations whose allegiance lasts only as long as their pockets are lined with American dollars.

Viable alternative fuels are available right now. If Bush wants to get America's fuel supply sources in order, he should instruct Congress to provide the funds to increase production of and research on alternative fuels and energy-saving vehicles, not simply to buy cheap oil when it's available.

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