Arctic oil exploration technologically obsolete

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the few undamaged regions left on the planet [“Our View: Taking refuge in oil?” - Dec 13]. Why tear it up looking for oil that will never be cost competitive?

Given the opportunity, a few companies will do some exploration, and wait for the price of oil to go high enough to make drilling there profitable. When and if substantial deposits are found, it would take at least a decade for production facilities to ramp up (construction is limited to the warm months).

By then the age of electric vehicles will have arrived, delivered by just about every major auto-maker in the world. EV's already have internal combustion cars beat on operating cost, maintenance, performance, and total lifetime cost. They will soon have the edge on purchase price, driving range and "fueling" time.

Over the next five years, GM will be developing 20 new all-electric models, as part of an eventual phase-out of gasoline engines. Ford plans to stay competitive with a $4.5 billion investment. Tesla has just demonstrated its "Roadster" model featuring a 620-mile range. Tesla's super-chargers can already do a major recharge in half an hour.

A company named Fisker plans to leapfrog Tesla. Fisker has filed patents on a solid-state technology that holds two and a half times the energy of lithium-ion batteries with a charge-up time of one minute. It hopes to go into production by 2023. Toyota and Honda are also exploring advanced battery technology.

Only those locked into ingrained habits would still be promoting oil exploration in the ANWR today. It is not only wantonly destructive, but uneconomic and technologically obsolete.

Michael Segor

San Luis Obispo

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