D-Day for Energy Freedom

Historians may regard July 22, 2008, as D-Day in the war for energy freedom.

Historians may regard July 22, 2008, as D-Day in the war for energy freedom. That was the day that bipartisan leaders in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives introduced legislation with the potential to set America free of its current dependence on foreign oil, much of it coming from places that wish to harm us.

The unveiling of the Open Fuel Standard Act of 2008 may not be the beginning of the end of the OPEC energy cartel tyranny and the economic warfare it is waging against this country. But it surely should be the beginning of the end of our present ruinous vulnerability to such warfare.

The Open Fuel Standard Act (H.R. 6559 in the House and S.3303 in the Senate) would require 50 percent of the new cars sold in the United States to be flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs) by 2012 — that is, “fuel omnivores” instead of “gasoholics.” Such cars could run on ethanol or methanol along with gasoline, or some combination of these fuels. The act requires 80 percent of the fleet to be FFVs by 2015.

Since the United States adds about 17 million cars to its highways every year, and since each of these cars on average lasts for 17 years, the Open Fuel Standard would make a world of difference. Instead of perpetuating our oil dependency for decades to come, we would rapidly give more Americans the choice of various “freedom fuels”—alcohols we can produce here in large quantities from corn and other sources or, if necessary, import from places that are not trying to kill us.

The beauty of the Open Fuel Standard is that it is the most practical, near-term and affordable step we can take to kick our addiction to oil. FFV technology is in hand and very inexpensive (under $100, less than the cost of a single fill-up for many Americans). In fact, there are 6 million FFVs already in use in the United States. The Big Three U.S. automakers — Chrysler, Ford and General Motors — actually have a competitive advantage in their manufacture and have already committed to meet the act’s first goal. The second should be easily achievable, as well.

Every American has an interest in breaking the OPEC cartel’s monopoly. Fuel choice is the way to do it. And the Open Fuel Standard is the decisive way to give us that choice.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. formerly held senior positions in Ronald Reagan’s Defense Department. He is currently President of the Center for Security Policy and a member of the Set America Free Coalition.




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