Energy realities and prospects are improving at breakneck speed and, as a result, so too is global growth potential. Production of oil and gas has increased faster during the last two years in the United States than at any other time since record-keeping began in 1859. Oil finds have also multiplied in the South Atlantic, in Australia and in the Russian arctic.

Yet, the price of crude oil remains stubbornly high and so does the retail price of gasoline, constraining rather than encouraging global growth prospects. It is a kind of torture to have an easier energy future tantalizingly close, and yet the old difficult energy past seems determined to hang on. For the time being, investors need to deal with both.

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