If a resource grows scarce and therefore more expensive the market will drive consumers to either forgo purchase of said resource or pay a higher price for access to it. As Robert J. Samuelson writes on Newsweek’s website, in the case of gas that may reap dividends for the environment.

Higher gas prices may be the best way to slow global warming.

“It’s true that oil companies will reap eye-popping profits from high prices. Still, the logic that steep prices, imposed by the market or by taxes, will encourage energy conservation is irrefutable. At the least, high prices would curb the growth of greenhouse gases and oil imports.”