"Can I help you sir?"

"Yeh, fill up the tank."

"With what sir?"

"I'd like some of that beautiful Alaskan petroleum I've been seeing on television."

"I'm terribly sorry but we don't have any Alaskan gas. We have some lovely fresh Saudi Arabian fuel that just came in a few days ago."

"How come you don't have any Alaskan gold? The stuff's been coming down the pipeline for months. I've been looking forward to burning it ever since they made the first strike."

"It's not as easy to come by as one might think. You see, sir, once it comes out of the ground it has to be shipped by pipe. The pipeline was only just completed. It was supposed to cost less than $1 million. It finally cost between $7 and $8 billion. Then after it was built, there was some question about the welding, and there was an explosion along the line, and then a truck went into it and the whole thing has been a mess. I'm not sure Alaskan fuel will be available to many Americans for some time to come. Would you like to try our Kuwaiti-No Lead? It's very popular for a car of your size."

"Ithought once we got the Alaskan pipeline built our fuel problems would be over."

"Oh no. Actually it's created new problems. We may have an oil glut on the West Coast as more and more of the oil comes down the pipeline. There aren't enough refineries to handle what we're shipping. Would you like to try a little unassuming Persian gasoline? It doesn't come from one of the famous oil fields, but it's very good for everyday bumper-to-bumper driving."

"If it was up to me I'd say put Libyan gasoline into the car if you want to, but my wife says we should buy American. She says the less money we give the Arab states the less cooperative apartments they can buy in New York City."

"Well, what about some Venezuelan Crude? It has a lovely black texture to it and smells rather nice in a tunnel."

"Look, my wife sent me out for Alaska Premium and she's going to be furious if I fill up the car with something else. We've been led to believe that we could buy all the Alaskan gasoline we wanted to by August 1, and at a reasonable price, I might add. It isn't fair to get people's expectations up and then not be able to deliver."

"What happened?"

"They built the pipeline to the wrong place. They should have built it to the Midwest. It's actually cheaper to sell Alaskan oil to Japan than it is to the lower 48 states."

"You wouldn't sell Alaskan oil to foreigners and keep us Americans from having any of it?"

"There is a lot of talk of it. We'll give you Nigerian oil instead."

"I don't want my car to drive on Nigerian fuel!"

"What about Algerian Regular?"

"I don't see why as a consumer I can't get what I want."

"It's nobody's fault, sir. As I said they built the pipeline to the wrong place. It could happen to anybody. The Alaskan oil companies feel worse about it than you do."

"All the buildup, all the hopes of Americans using their own Alaskan slope petroleum have gone down the drain. How long can our cars keep running on Iraqi British Petroleum? Suppose the Sultan of Oman starts mixing his oil with Muscat? When President Andrew Johnson bought Alaska he had only one thing in mind, and that was that someday every American, rich as well as poor, would be able to pull up to any service station in the United States and say "Give me 10 bucks worth of Super Alaskan Ethyl."

"I feel the way you do, sir. It is the end the American dream."