Saturday, February 25, 2012
Economists attribute high prices to fears over growing tensions with Iran, the third largest supplier of oil to the global economy. The Washington Post further notes that “available crude resources can barely keep up with growing demand worldwide.”
According to analysts cited by AP, “every 1-cent increase in the price of gasoline costs the economy $1.4 billion.” Since December, gas prices have risen 29 cents per gallon.
With elections approaching, the Obama administration is facing partisan attacks over his alleged obstruction of oil drilling permits.
While increased oil drilling could have a temporary, limited impact on gasoline prices in the short-to-medium term, neither a Democratic nor Republican administration would have any power to order OPEC to sustain an increase in production to create a larger buffer between supply and demand and thereby substantially reduce gasoline prices.
And absent some brilliant stroke of diplomacy between Iran, the United States and Israel or the nonviolent overthrow of the Iranian government, tensions will continue to mount over Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.
President Obama is right to state that there are no “quick fixes” to high gasoline prices but he could strengthen his record on economic growth and energy security in an election season by championing flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) through legislation designed to stimulate free market competition.
The Open Fuel Standard Act, H.R. 1687/S. 1603, would stimulate private investment in economically competitive alternative fuels such as methanol by establishing a flex-fuel standard in the automotive industry.
Rather than being restricted to refueling your vehicle with gasoline costing $3.65/gallon or more (Californians must be envious of Americans who pay that price), you would be able to select at the pump whichever fuel is cheapest.
The energy equivalent of $3.00/gallon for methanol sounds much more appealing than current gasoline prices, which are only projected to increase due to rising demand from China and India.
Tell your elected representatives you want a bi-partisan solution to the problem of high gasoline prices and that The Open Fuel Standard Act, H.R. 1687/S. 1603, deserves their vote.
Thomas J. Buonomo is an Energy Policy Advocate for the Open Fuel Standard Coalition. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Middle East Studies from the U.S. Air Force Academy and has spent the past six years researching U.S. energy and national security policy.