Kansas City Star: The latest discovery of large oil supplies in the Gulf of Mexico is encouraging. But the right conservation steps must still be taken in the years ahead.
The nation's domestic reserves could swell by 10 to 50 percent depending on how much crude actually exists 175 miles offshore. It could take six or more years, however, to get significant amounts of the petroleum to U.S. refineries.
And even with such a windfall, the nation can't become complacent. Strong efforts are needed to make domestic supplies last for future generations. America will need to focus on these priorities:
UConserve gasoline with more fuel-efficient vehicles.
UReduce oil purchases from unstable countries.
UKill plans to drill in environmentally fragile parts of Alaska.
UIncrease the use of alternative energy sources, especially wind and solar power.
The news from the Gulf of Mexico means America has more domestic petroleum than once thought.
But the best way to maximize benefits of new oil is to make aggressive moves to conserve energy and more efficiently use it.