Q&A on the News

Q: In the recent contest for the new Georgia license plate, I noticed that the winning design displayed eight letters and numbers, ABC12345. Was the entrant using her artistic “license,” or does this mean we will be going to an eight-character tag versus the current seven characters? If so, will eight characters also be allowed in new prestige tags?

—Hayden Branch, Roswell

A: The eight characters that appeared on the license plates were simply for design purposes only, as a placeholder for the letters and numbers on a license plate, officials with the Georgia Department of Revenue told Q&A on the News. Seven characters remains the maximum allowable number.

Q: If unrestricted U.S. offshore and Alaskan drilling were allowed, would the resulting oil go directly to U.S. markets or would it become part of the world market, subject to bid by any nation?

—Ray Woolfolk, Villa Rica

A: The oil would go to American refineries and be consumed in the U.S., Ken Medlock, an energy expert at Rice University in Houston, told Q&A on the News in an email. The oil produced offshore and in Alaska will keep the U.S. from becoming more "dependent on foreign-sourced oil" by offsetting "the declines in existing production in mature Gulf of Mexico fields," he wrote.

Lori Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).