Business: Idea of the Week

Scientists have known for years how to make oil out of coal, shale rock and tar sands. But the costs are huge, and even today it is still cheaper for oil companies to buy the crude from OPEC than make it themselves. That fact of economic life is what is keeping a synthetic oil industry from developing in the U.S. Ford Motor Co. President Philip Caldwell has suggested a remedy. Why not, he asks, pass a federal law requiring that 10% of all gasoline sold in the U.S. be made from synthetic fuel? Says he: "Everyone who sells gasoline ought...

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