What a pain (at the pump)

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 11, 2011

With gas prices flirting with $4 a gallon in Louisiana and topping $4.25 in other parts of the country, it’s not shocking that the majority of Americans are feeling squeezed financially. In the middle of a lackluster economic recovery and a double dip housing market, the last thing America needs is $5.00 per gallon gas. Nevertheless, it looks like the only way for prices to go is up as long as the Middle East is in turmoil and our domestic oil industry continues to be squeezed by federal regulators using anti-domestic energy principles.

So far, the federal government continues to keep its boot on the neck of the domestic drilling industry in the Gulf of Mexico which has greatly reduced America’s capacity to produce its own energy. In addition, the EPA just announced that it is going to place an endangered species restriction on thousands of acres of oil rich lands in Texas and New Mexico. At a time when America needs to be producing the maximum amount of domestic energy that it can, these two policies by the federal government do the complete opposite.

In stark contrast to what we can control as far as oil production is concerned, the unrest in the Middle East is about as controllable as a volcanic eruption. The current atmosphere in the Middle East — filled with changing regimes and uncertainty in the people — does not create the environment for stable oil prices or increased oil flow. Since America gets most of its oil from the Middle East, we should be paying close attention to the current situation and hope for a quick resolution to the rapidly changing region.

If prices don’t start decreasing soon, we will all begin to change the way we do things. City living is coming back in vogue as people without children see a simpler life by living closer to work and residing in a walkable community. Local governments are taking notice too by installing bike lanes and racks in most major cities and repairing sidewalks to encourage people to get off the road and go for a stroll. It will be interesting to see if the vast majority of Americans take a liking to this new way of life which is in the total opposite direction from the suburbia mentality that exploded since the 1950s.

While we all hope for the development of new technology and alternative fuels, we must have a strong domestic energy policy that will allow our nation to move forward with economic strength supported by an abundant energy supply. If we don’t start producing American energy in America soon, Americans will have to get used to the “new normal” price for gasoline.

The last bite…

Last week was the LaPlace Lions Club Crawfish Boil held at Gilligan’s on the Lake. We had awesome attendance and the crawfish was good but a little too weak on the spices. At the end of the meal, Dr. Christy Montegut treated us to white chocolate bread pudding topped with an amazing sauce. We even made history by electing the first female Lions Club President, Christine Duhe.  I give the crawfish a 3.5 (out of 5) crumbs!

Buddy Boe, a resident of LaPlace, is a former parish administrator and is well known on the local political (and food) scenes. His column appears Wednesdays in L’Observateur.