I’ve thought for some time that the most sensible approach to the oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge is to hold onto it until we need it. The amount of oil there is irrelevant to today’s economy. On current trends, the total production would be some 1% of the world’s oil production, not enough to make a real difference.

We should be thankful that we have a reserve of oil in our country, and we should wait on trying to dig it out until we have a real use for it, a use beyond just burning it to move cars around.

As far as I can tell, the only people who would advocate drilling today are those who stand to make money on it now. It would be irresponsible to cater to those people at the expense of the majority.

This thinking is quite separate from the status of the ANWR as a wildlife refuge.


  1. fche said,

    July 16, 2008 @ 6:07 pm

    > we should wait on trying to dig it out until we have a real use for it

    Like what?

  2. Michael Hubbard said,

    July 16, 2008 @ 8:59 pm

    Plastics, lubricants, and fertilizer, right? I’m sure there are more. Not that we don’t already need these things, but we still will even after using petroleum for cars has grown prohibitively expensive.

  3. Ian Lance Taylor said,

    July 18, 2008 @ 6:06 am

    Right, oil has a lot of interesting properties other than its ability to burn.

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