Last week's increase in the price of a barrel of oil to nearly $50 a barrel underscores America's need for both a short-term and long-term energy policy.
Oil industry experts differ on whether oil prices and gasoline prices will stay high over the short-term but there is little disagreement on the long-term picture: As income levels rise for the billions of people in developing nations such as China and India, oil is going to become a scarcer and more expensive commodity.
"In the long run, I seriously doubt that there is enough oil on the planet Earth to meet the needs of all of us driving SUVs, not just in America but also in China and India," Dr. Edward Yardeni, noted economist for Prudential Equity Group wrote on his Web site last week. "Imagine the adverse environmental impact of all those folks driving their children's soccer and rugby teams from game to game. You don't have to believe in Global Warming now to believe that it might be a big problem if the number of cars in our planet double or triple in the next 20 or 30 years."