To the Editor:
I FEEL COMPELLED to respond to Keith Crain's column titled 'We must save oil; industry must lead' (March 11 edition).
I am a petroleum geologist by education and must say your statement concerning 'oil supply limits' is way off the facts. First, there is no oil shortage and we are not in danger of running out of oil in the foreseeable future. The supply of oil, oil shales, oil sands and gas in North America, according to the most conservative estimates, exceeds many hundreds of years of usage at projected rates. The vast oil sands of northern USA and Canada alone are virtually limitless.
Beyond that, the coal reserves are probably double the oil and gas reserves. What is true is that the gas pump product becomes more expensive each step along the way. Even so, gasoline in the USA sells for less than 20 to 25 years ago adjusted for inflation.
Second, as the development of more difficult supplies occurs, the price will gradually rise. That will result in an 'automatic' market adjustment in pricing, and an 'automatic' shifting of demand toward more fuel efficient cars and trucks. The auto industry will develop more small, fuel-
efficient vehicles as the demand increases - it's called a free market.
Why are cars the scapegoat? Why allow the manufacture of large boats at all? Why not limit all citizens to 225-square-meter houses? With no air conditioning! Why do we allow people to live in extreme cold or hot climates where vast quantities of fuel are 'wasted' on heating or cooling houses?
Why just the focus on cars? Politics, of course. The people who want us on their commuter trains and buses or even bicycles have taken control of the auto business and political correctness rules.
Thomas H. Claridge
Fremont, California, USA