Sunday, May 19, 2013
Over time, the Open Fuel Standard would transform America's transportation sector from what I call "gasoholic" vehicles to "omnivores." As new FFVs become ever more widely available and older, gas-only cars are phased out, the United States would create a vast new market for fuels that can be produced domestically, in the case of methanol derived from anything made up of carbon. Among such plentiful sources are switchgrass and other plants, wood pulp, used tires and trash.
In this fashion, at the cost of just $100 or less per newly manufactured vehicle, the United States can, over time, wean itself from what amounts to its present, utter dependency on a single source of transportation fuel — oil — most of which is supplied by members of the OPEC cartel. This will have a truly revolutionary strategic effect, especially if, as a practical matter, the US Open Fuel Standard winds up becoming an international standard. That would seem to be a predictable result since car companies, having retooled their production lines to make Flexible Fuel Vehicles, will find it more economical to manufacture basically the same vehicles for sale elsewhere.
As a result, within relatively short order, something like 120 countries around the world, many of them currently desperately poor and unable to afford high gas prices, will be able to produce their own transportation fuels from native vegetation or other sources. Some may even be able to become net energy exporters, offering them a way out of their state of impoverishment.
The result will be the end of OPEC's monopoly and, perhaps, of the cartel itself.