Cliff May

That would be just the start: Americans are innovators and they would come up with a wealth of new ideas. Like what? How about funneling unwanted carbon dioxide into reservoirs covered with algae that would feed on the carbon dioxide (as all plants do), then turning the algae into alcohol fuel? Is that feasible? That’s what entrepreneurs get paid the big bucks to figure out.

Before long, billions of dollars that we are now sending overseas could be going into the pockets of Americans – farmers, auto workers, alternative fuel producers and investors.

With a variety of fuels competing, the cost of fuel – including gasoline -- would go down. The OPEC cartel would no long decide how much you pay to drive your car. A free market would make the decision – as it should.

In 1998, Saudi oil export revenues were $32 billion. Shortly after 9/11/01 they almost doubled to $63 billion. In 2006 they reached $203 billion – and with oil now near $100 a barrel they are still climbing. But fuel competition can reduce this unprecedented transfer of wealth from American, European and Japanese families to Arab sheiks, Iranian mullahs, Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin.

As demand rises from a growing international fleet of Flexible Fuel Vehicles -- because the American standard would soon become the global standard -- Third World farmers could rise from poverty by growing crops for fuel and for export.

Memo to candidates promising “change”: What change would be more significant than to energize the U.S. economy, create new jobs, encourage innovation, provide consumer choice at the pump, clean the air, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, protect national security and provide useful assistance to Africa’s poor?

Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.