Remember folks! You heard it here first.
THE STRATEGIC PATH TO VICTORY IN THE WAR ON TERROR IS THE ELIMINATION OF PETROLEUM AS THE PRIME MOVER OF OUR TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM.
There! Read that. Remember where you read it and quote your source often.
I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Robert Zubrin recently at the 2008 AIPAC policy conference. We hit it off right on the spot. I merely told him what I wrote above in bold letters. Dr. Zubrin commented that he ALMOST agreed. He repeated what I said and added one word. In Dr. Zubrin's opinion: "The strategic path to victory in the war on terror is the elimination of petroleum as the ONLY prime mover of our transportation system."
I'll let you decide whether that's "splitting hairs". I like his attitude. Besides! He's done a TON more research into this than I have. I've been merely following ethanol vehicle fuels because I grew up in Illinois farm country. I've long been convinced that America could produce enough ethanol to power our motor vehicle fleet; the largest in the world. Dr. Zubrin has written a book that all but proves it out.
The book is ENERGY VICTORY and it is presented at:
Of particular importance, PLEASE review the on-line slide show highlighting his thesis.
In short, Dr. Zubrin's thesis is that we could create competition in the motor vehicle fuel business by mandating that all cars sold in the US be flex fuel.
I concur with Dr. Zubrin. Giving American automobile fuel consumers CHOICE will cause competition that will break OPEC's absolute control over motor vehicle fuel supply. Make OPEC nations work for a living, competing against the rest of the world which can grow something that can be made into ethanol. This competition will cause a significant shrinkage in the capacity of the money pipeline to international terrorism.
We're not limited to corn. We're not even limited to ethanol as methanol is even cheaper to make. Methanol is still used in American open wheel auto racing.
I don't care how you add it up! Petroleum selling over $100/barrel makes ethanol competitive. Whether you use corn, sugar cane, coal, wood, or something we're currently throwing away, you can make alcahol fuels out of it.
There is even great potential for biodiesel. CO2 from power plants can be pumped into ponds growing oil-rich species of algea. The oil can be extracted and used for diesel fuel. There is a paper from the University of New Hampshire on the web that is somewhat dated, but interesting reading.
Now I know a lot of you are hearing all this talk about how ethanol is robbing the food supply. This is ridiculous, but apparently not obvious to all.
Let me assure you, there is compelling evidence to lead any rational person to know that ethanol is not robbing the food supply. Rather, it is increasing the food supply. Grocery prices have risen because trucking prices have risen due to high petroleum prices and more specifically, diesel fuel prices.
Nonetheless, this is explained by Dr. Zubrin and any number of other people as well as the USDA.
Dr. Zubrin writes:
Here are the facts. In the last five years, despite the nearly threefold growth of the corn ethanol industry—actually, because of it—the amount of corn grown in the United States has vastly increased. The U.S. corn crop grew by 45 percent, the production of distillers grain (a high-value animal feed made from the protein saved from the corn used for ethanol) quadrupled, and the net U.S. corn production of food for humans and feed for animals increased 34 percent.
Contrary to claims that farmers have cut other crops to grow more corn, U.S. soybean plantings this year are expected to be up 18 percent and wheat plantings up 6 percent. U.S. farm exports are up 23 percent over last year. America is clearly doing its share in feeding the world.
So much for the food dis-information campaign. There is also another insidious myth floating around about ethanol. This myth says that it takes more energy to produce ethanol than the energy contained in the fuel. Even if this were the case, ethanol would still be a viable motor vehicle fuel for several reasons. It's not just a matter of whether we gain or lose energy. It's a matter of whether we can put it in our gas tanks and run our cars. The real fact is that modern farming and distilling methods have clearly made ethanol a net energy gain
This is best articulated by the American Coalition for Ethanol:
What does "net energy balance" mean?
What is ethanol's energy balance? Net energy balance is a term used to describe how much energy is needed to produce a product versus how much energy that product provides. Two professors that are long-time critics of ethanol claim that ethanol has a negative energy balance, but this is simply not true and has been debunked again and again by science. Scientific study after study has proven ethanol's energy balance to be positive. The latest USDA figures show that ethanol made from the drymill process provides at least 77% more energy as a fuel than the process it takes to make it. The bottom line is that it takes about 35,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) of energy to create a gallon of ethanol, and that gallon of ethanol contains at least 77,000 BTUs of energy. The net energy balance of ethanol is simply a non-issue.
The raw price of ethanol is currently less than petroleum. It's just a matter of automakers adding an average of $100 to the cost of a vehicle to make it flex fuel. The economics will take care of themselves. In a few years, we would have millions of flex fuel vehicles on the road and fueling stations would have to carry ethanol/methanol/E85 because their raw cost is way lower than the present market price for petroleum products.
This is such a no-brainer! Brazil has already done it! We need not feel like we're driving in the dark without our lights on. Besides, if Brazil can do it, certainly the United States of America, land of the free - home of the brave, can do it.
The American motor vehicle consumer deserves CHOICE in motor vehicle fuels. The small scale of ethanol production in the U.S. over the past 3 years has proven itself. Depending on market conditions, ethanol may or may not be competitive. With flex-fuel vehicles that will not be a problem. We will always be able to choose the cheapest fuel.
Thus, whether or not ethanol completely replaces gasoline or not, the fuel supply for America's motor vehicle fleet can be secured with ethanol and other alcahol fuels. Once OPEC no longer controls the cost of our transportation, the money pipeline to terrorism shrinks significantly.
I have added the web site Open Fuel Standard to the "My Blog List". The blog is "... the central action hub for all things concerning the vitally important legislation, The Open Fuel Standard Act.
I encourage my readers to follow this blog. - TINSC
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