Commentary: Energy battle is far from over

This editorial appeared in The Kansas City Star.

Stunning declines in energy prices since summer stand out amid the gloom of bad economic news.

Motorists in Kansas City and around the nation are paying a lot less for gasoline. And the cost of using natural gas to heat houses and offices this winter will be far cheaper than once expected.

But there's less-welcome news that deserves attention, too.

• Some industries, such as U.S. airlines, have been slow to pass along their energy-related savings. Passengers have good reasons to wonder why surcharges imposed over the summer for fuel and luggage haven't come down, even though fuel costs have fallen.

• Americans may feel they have less incentive to buy fuel-efficient cars. That's unfortunate, because those vehicles provide the single best way for Americans to conserve energy in the future.

• Cheap crude reduces interest and financial investments in alternative energies. But trimming the nation's dependence on fossil fuels should remain a high priority, along with boosting the use of clean, renewable alternatives such as wind power.

• America's reliance on foreign oil will remain higher than it should as long as prices are far below $100 a barrel. While allies such as Canada and Mexico supply much of that petroleum, the United States still should have a goal of cutting imports from volatile parts of the world, such as the Middle East.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.