August 21, 2012
Legalize Methanol – Robert Zubrin – National Review Online.
Last year, I conducted a highly publicized demonstration showing that ordinary American cars could readily be made to operate on methanol, achieving over 40 percent better fuel economy and much lower emissions than on gasoline. In that test, a 2007 Chevy Cobalt was shown to achieve 24.6 miles per gallon running on 100 percent methanol, with the only required physical alteration being the replacement of a non-methanol-compatible Viton fuel-pump seal with a 41-cent part made of methanol-compatible Buna-n. And methanol is now selling for just $1.32 per gallon, without any subsidy.
As methanol can be cheaply produced from natural gas, coal, biomass, or trash — all resources the United States holds in great abundance — this test showed that America could readily free itself from oil imports simply by passing the Open Fuel Standard (OFS) law requiring that all new cars sold in the U.S. be methanol-compatible flex-fuel vehicles. By forcing gasoline to compete at the pump with cheap methanol, such a measure would put a permanent constraint on the price of oil, thereby breaking the power of the Islamist-led OPEC cartel and protecting the nation from the economy-wrecking effects of petroleum price spikes, shown in the figure below.
June 4, 2012
IMF Warning on Oil Prices Shows Urgent Need for Alternative Fuel Sources, Fuel Freedom Foundation Says – MarketWatch.
IRVINE, Calif., May 24, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The Fuel Freedom Foundation says that a new warning from the International Monetary Fund underscores the urgency of opening markets to competition from alternative fuels such as natural gas, ethanol, methanol and electricity. The IMF Working Paper, entitled “The Future of Oil: Geology versus Technology,” predicts that oil prices could permanently double in the next decade.
“The IMF report warns that a doubling in oil prices will send the global economy into ‘uncharted territory,’ which would spell disaster,” said Joseph A. Cannon, President of the Fuel Freedom Foundation. “Fortunately, disaster can be averted if we open our markets to competition from cheaper, cleaner, American-made alternative fuels to gasoline. This is the only way to bring down oil prices significantly and structurally, and ensure future economic growth.”
May 14, 2012
Open Fuel Standard: New Co-Sponsor: Representative Michael Fitzpatrick.
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick is a Republican Congressman from the 8th district of Pennsylvania, a member of the House Republican Policy Committee, and the newest co-sponsor of the Open Fuel Standard Act.
May 10, 2012
Open Fuel Standard: Breaking OPEC’s Stranglehold.
In James Freeman’s “Weekend Interview with Aubrey McClendon” (April 28), Mr. McClendon states that natural gas could break the stranglehold OPEC has on our economy in 10 years. Actually, it could be sooner than that — if Congress acts on legislation titled the Open Fuel Standard Act.
This bill requires that, within five years, 80% of all new cars manufactured for sale in the U.S. be duel-fuel capable, which includes methanol. The cost to do this would only be about $70 to $100 per car. The methanol requirement is what is unique. Methanol can be made from everything from garbage to coal to natural gas. Given America’s abundant coal reserves and the explosion of extractable natural gas reserves, we could see a day in the not-too-distant future when most drivers choose to fuel their cars with methanol made from domestically produced resources.
March 12, 2012
America’s Energy Disaster – Robert Zubrin – National Review Online.
President Obama says his energy policy is a great success. In support, Democratic-party stalwart John Podesta trumpets the claim that the United States is now producing more oil than it imports. A recent article in the Bloomberg News goes even further, saying that the U.S. is now a net oil exporter. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman instructs us to rejoice: High oil prices are now good for the United States.
Unfortunately, none of this is true. For the record, according to the Department of Energy/Energy Information Agency February 2012 Monthly Energy Review, the United States currently consumes (November 2011 figures, p.52) 12.93 million barrels of oil per day (mpd) in its transportation sector, 4.55 mpd in its industrial sector, 1.159 mpd in its residential and commercial sectors, and 0.096 mpd in electrical-power generation, for a total consumption of 18.735 mpd. In contrast, (page 37) in 2011, the United States averaged a production rate of 5.671 mpd of crude oil, or 30 percent of its total consumption, for a net deficit of 13.064 mpd, or 4.77 billion barrels per year. At today’s oil price of $105 per barrel, the bill for these imports runs to $500 billion per year, a tax on our economy equal to 20 percent of what Americans pay the IRS, and a reduction in the nation’s GDP sufficient to account for a loss of 5 million jobs at an average salary of $100,000 per year each.
March 12, 2012
Robert McFarlane: A Flex-Fuel Mandate Is Pro-Market – WSJ.com.
The current election cycle and the rising price of gasoline have rekindled interest in energy security and how best to achieve it. We’ve had these spasms of interest and hand-wringing before—many times. And each time we believed we had identified a way to overcome our vulnerability to the disruption or unaffordable pricing of oil, the price would decline, we would become complacent again, and effective, long-term solutions were forgotten.
This time, however, the stakes go well beyond the price of a fill-up at the pump. They involve a predictable renewed recession and prolonged, severe economic hardship for all Americans. As we tackle this energy challenge again, if the outcome is to be any different it may help to start with a few facts:
• Petroleum products drive 97% of all air, sea and land transportation in our country. Oil is truly the lifeblood of every industrial economy. If goods don’t move, revenues stop, jobs are lost and economies collapse. Oil is a strategic commodity, an essential good which if disrupted or priced extravagantly can cause our economy to collapse.
• Unlike other essential commodities such as clothing and food, where we have choices, in transportation fuel we’re stuck with petroleum alone. It enjoys a monopoly.
• The price of oil is set by a foreign cartel. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) owns almost 80% of global oil reserves yet produces only 36% of daily global supply. This dominant position enables OPEC to raise or lower their production to maintain the global supply-demand relationship that suits their interest. If U.S. oil companies produce more, OPEC will produce less.
January 20, 2012
LUFT: Market-based future for ethanol – Washington Times.
Domestic product is critical insurance policy against oil shocks
For years, ethanol has been the fuel free marketers loved to hate. Much of this is for good reason. Ethanol represented what most Americans dislike about Washington: undue government intervention in the free market, abuse of taxpayer dollars and political favoritism. The result is that for many people, ethanol is identified with pork and corruption rather than with energy security.
ut as of January 2012, Congress has ended the 30-year practice of putting $6 billion a year,known as the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, into the pockets of big oil companies for the ethanol blended into our fuel. Also finished is the 54-cent-per-gallon import tariff on Brazilian sugarcane ethanol. Now that ethanol has lost these protectionist measures, intellectual consistency warrants that free marketers continue to make wrong right. Unsubsidized ethanol should be able to compete with unsubsidized gasoline, methanol and other fuels at the pump so consumers can choose to purchase the cheapest fuel. Today, this cannot be done since most of the cars sold in the United States are blocked from burning anything other than gasoline.
January 18, 2012
Cutting Coal Would be ‘Irresponsible’ « Behind The Plug.
It’s no secret that coal is important to the American economy and energy sector. The coal industry is responsible for more than 550,000 jobs across the country—including the jobs of Americans who are working to develop and implement clean coal technology.
But still some critics argue we should simply flip the off switch on coal, without knowing the full consequences.
January 17, 2012
How to Reduce Oil Prices – Robert Zubrin – National Review Online.
The United States is by far the world’s leading oil importer. Thus, when the price of oil goes up, our economy is severely taxed. At the beginning of 2011, many economists were talking about an emerging U.S. economic recovery. Yet by spring, as oil prices climbed above $100 per barrel, it became apparent to all who were paying attention that no escape from recession was in sight.
The economic impact of oil prices on the American economy is shown on the graph below, which compares oil prices (adjusted for inflation to 2010 dollars) to the unemployment rate from 1970 to the present. Every oil-price hike for the past four decades, including those in 1973, 1979, 1991, 2001, and 2008, was followed shortly afterwards by a sharp rise in American unemployment.
October 20, 2011
Ethanol Producer Magazine | EthanolProducer.com.
Calling their industries’ relationship a “productive and cordial” one, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen and Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, issued a joint statement from the RFA’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., asserting the two groups’ commitments to implementing renewable fuel technologies throughout the U.S. But while some progress has been made in getting the two industries to agree on certain items, the groups remain divided on many important issues.
“Both the automotive and ethanol industries are defined by their constant innovation and evolution,” the pair stated. “We firmly believe that America can secure its energy future and create jobs by investing in new vehicle and fuel technologies that harness the innovative power of American workers to redefine how we power our cars. Despite current differences over how to best increase the amount of ethanol included in America’s fuel supply, automotive and ethanol interests all agree that renewable fuels are a path down which American must head.”