Stop funding the enemy

We must mandate that all new vehicles manufactured and sold in the United States be flex-fueled.

Oil dependency bears hidden costs to America. Let’s look at the following numbers: One-fourth of all the oil that America uses comes from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, with one-seventh of it coming from Arab OPEC countries and one-eighth from Persian Gulf countries. In 1972, America spent $4 billion on oil imports, an amount equal to 1.2 percent of our defense budget at that time. In 2006, America paid $260 billion – about half of what America paid for national defense. Over that same period, Saudi Arabia oil revenues have grown in direct parallel, from $2.7 billion in 1972 to $200 billion in 2006. A considerable amount of that money is being used to expand terrorist thought and ideology.

We are competing with countries like China and India for our oil. These two countries are becoming more and more industrialized and their demand for oil is rising at a rate that will soon take us to our knees. Are we that ignorant of a society that we can’t see this coming? Do we really think we can continue to support the rising cost of oil? Just recently, oil rose above $100 a barrel. Oil-price volatility poses major risks to our country, and our parasitic need to drink it at the pump has placed our country in a significant spiraling funnel where the only end in sight is complete disaster.

According to Robert Zubrin, author of “Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror By Breaking Free of Oil,” “Congress is raiding the public purse to put $140 billion back in the pockets of American consumers, in the hope that this will provide an economic stimulus to prevent recession Ö yet by paying $100 per barrel of oil, we are allowing OPEC to set oil prices high enough to take more than triple that amount out of Americans’ pockets.” Is this the answer?

Let’s look back at the early 1970s when we as Americans had to deal with the Arab Oil Embargo. In those years, America’s economy was thrown into complete chaos and we produced 70 percent of the oil we used yearly. Today, America produces about 40 percent of our own fuel; not very promising. Can you imagine another oil embargo or $200 a barrel? We must mandate that Congress passes a law requiring that all new vehicles (not just made, but sold) in the United States be flex-fueled.

If we can get Congress to mandate this concept, we would no longer need to support our enemies and we would break our dependency on foreign oil. If we did this, according to Zubrin, we would have over 50 million flexible-fueled vehicles in America within a few years, and worldwide hundreds of millions of alternative vehicles forcing gasoline to compete all over the globe. This would virtually crumble the monopoly held by the oil giants of the world.

With this happening, we would see a “pie in the sky” investment for private industry that would focus on all types of alternative fuels from all types of products and commodities. The infrastructure would follow suit and we would no longer be supporting countries that promote terror.

In effect, as Zubrin says, “We could take trillions of dollars a year that is now flowing to the oil cartel, and direct it toward the world’s agricultural and mining sectors Ö an enormous boon to the third world, which otherwise faces brutal looting through the regressive tax imposed by OPEC’s unconstrained price hikes Ö there is not just a strategic and economic case for breaking the oil cartel, but a strong humanitarian case as well.”

Let’s stop fighting over miles per gallon, farmers being subsidized, not enough land and food vs. fuel. These are not the issues at hand; the issues at hand are our own survival. Stop funding our enemies and demand that Congress mandate that all vehicles be flex-fueled vehicles; that is our answer.

Dr. Jeffrey B. Zeiger is the executive director of the Alternative Fuels Institute. Please send comments to [email protected]