Every time I see the slogan “drill baby drill” appear as a response to recent rises in gas prices, I think back to the short time I lived in Alaska. Spanning the summer of 2007, my short adventure in Fairbanks left me with much to think about. One of the most surprising was the lessons learned from $5.30 gas prices – in a state that pays its residents dividends from its large oil production.
Long story short, Alaskan oil isn’t the cleanest – in fact, refineries in the U.S. don’t touch the stuff. Alaskan oil is thick and heavy, to the point where the pipeline has a special cleaning tool known as a pig to keep the oil flowing. Most of the oil is then shipped to relatively nearby markets in Japan and Korea, while oil in Alaska itself is either put through a more rigorous processing or shipped from elsewhere in the world. Continue reading An Alaskan Lesson