GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Traffic is moving a little more smoothly in South Mississippi. Driving is a little less painful as gas prices continue to drop. And oil industry expert Grady Ford says, primarily, we have ourselves to thank.
"It's strictly due to supply," says Ford. "We're consuming less than we did in '07. In fact, I saw some figures the other day where we've driven 40 billion miles less in the first 6 months of this year. Now that's a lot of miles."
But Ford says there are other factors at play as well.
"The economy is slow. The world economy is slowing down. The dollar has strengthened."
While Ford says drilling for more oil is an important step, he believes drilling for natural gas is America's better option, and that includes, right here in South Mississippi.
"Natural gas is really the U.S.'s answer. We have an abundant supply of natural gas. You can go out here just about anywhere and sink a hole 7 thousand feet and get natural gas. And in a weeks time you can have it in production," Ford said. "I grew up in the old Baxterville oil field out from Lumberton and Baxterville, in that area up there. And they're drilling up there like crazy for natural gas. I mean they're running pipelines all over that country up there. And they're producing wells just coming and going."
But Ford also says alternative energy needs to be developed, and he says that will take leadership.
"We can solve our problem. Congress has got to get off their yum yum and come up with an energy policy and fund it. The oil companies aren't going to fund alternative energy. They're in the oil business."