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  • Writer's pictureJeff Matthews

Coming Soon to an Airport Near You?

Airports in Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada recently came within a few days — and at times within hours — of running out of jet fuel, according to airline industry officials. Because of supply bottlenecks, airlines were forced to fly in fuel from other markets and scramble for deliveries by trucks. But these are expensive, short-term fixes that don’t address what airline executives consider to be the underlying problem: With passenger traffic rising above levels before Sept. 11, 2001, the nation’s aviation business slowly is outgrowing the infrastructure that fuels it… One of the latest supply snags began around July 20 in Phoenix. The trouble apparently began after Kinder Morgan didn’t make a scheduled delivery of jet fuel, at which point carriers began “ferrying” extra fuel to Phoenix from California and Nevada. The near-shortage in Phoenix gradually spread to airports in Reno, Nev., San Diego and Ontario, Calif. Jet fuel had to be trucked in just to keep the ferrying program to Phoenix alive, executives said. The crisis was resolved gradually as pipeline deliveries returned to normal and airlines focused on using as little fuel as necessary.—Associated Press Let me get this straight: of all the stories in the world that make the front page of my online New York Times and my online Wall Street Journal, the fact that jet fuel shortages have forced airlines to fly jet fuel from one airport to another and to use “as little fuel as necessary” somehow doesn’t make the cut?

On the New York Times web site we can, of course, read the latest installment in what Judge Roberts may have written in a letter home from summer camp when he was twelve that might or might not provide a clue about his position on abortion.

I am, of course, making that up—barely. But I am not making up the fact that on the Wall Street Journal site’s front page we can read not about the airline industry’s jet fuel problem but about how the Chinese government wants Chinese families to use an extra pair of chop sticks when they eat, so as not to contaminate the common food bowl.

Now that is fascinating stuff, and I’m sure it plays into the Journal’s desperate attempt to attract new readers (“Okay, what’s our Chinese angle today…?”)

But when I read of a jet fuel problem that forces airlines to use “as little fuel as necessary,” I wonder just how blind we want to be to what’s causing oil prices to hit $65 a barrel—and ask myself how the editors at those two distinguished bastions of journalism determine that Judge Roberts’ abortion position and China’s two-chop-sticks push can overshadow what we may very well look back on as The Energy Crisis of 2005.

Jeff Matthews I Am Not Making This Up

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews’ recommendations.

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