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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 15, 2006

Higher gas prices demand new thinking

Across the country, people are howling about prices for regular gas that are creeping toward $3 a gallon. That price is already here in Hawai'i.

But compared to much of the world, including Europe, our prices are relatively reasonable.

And the sticker shock apparently has done little to change behavior. Demand has barely softened in the face of rising prices.

Sooner or later, that has to change.

Most experts agree that the era of cheap gasoline is over. In some ways, this will be a painful but useful experience for the nation and Hawai'i.

The global supply of oil is not infinite.

Hawai'i is particularly vulnerable on this score since virtually all of our energy is imported.

If high prices for gasoline continue, the pressure for aggressively pursuing alternative sources of fuel for transportation and energy will increase. The current focus on biofuels or ethanol is evidence of that.

In addition, people will begin to alter their driving habits to save fuel by getting more efficient vehicles, car-pooling, using public transportation or avoiding unnecessary trips.

These choices will be good for the sustainability of our economy and our environment.