On the eve of the 4th of July, 2008, Americans are arguably as angry about being taxed without representation as at any time since they declared their independence from Great Britain. At the moment, they are furious about having no say over what amounts to a “tax” levied in the form of extortionate fuel prices driven by the supply-manipulating OPEC oil cartel.
As was true 232 years ago, we must channel that anger into action. This will require not just declaring independence from the Saudi-led oil monopoly, but taking the steps necessary to secure our freedom.
OPEC is able to effect an oil levy worth hundreds of billions of dollars each year for basically one reason: Currently, our transportation sector is almost entirely dependent on oil-derived gasoline and diesel fuels. As a result, our citizenry, economy and society today have no choice but to pay the tax and hope that the Saudis and their friends will recycle the national wealth thus expropriated by buying up our financial sector and other strategic assets for pennies on the dollar.
As Robert Zubrin, author of the best-selling Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil, puts it: “OPEC will clear $1.5 trillion in net export profits this year. The entire worth of the US Fortune 500 is $18 trillion. So at their current rate of looting, OPEC will accumulate enough cash to buy majority control of the entire Fortune 500 within 6 years.”
As outrageous as the present pass may seem with the price of oil at over $140 per barrel, U.S. and foreign capital markets are being rocked by the prospect that there is – under present circumstances – no end in sight. Panicked selling on Wall Street followed a recent warning that gasoline could soon sell for $7.00 a gallon. Why stop there?
The truth of the matter is that OPEC won’t – unless, that is, we declare that our cars will henceforth be made capable of operating independent of gasoline.
Fortunately, this is not wishful thinking. We have the option right now to require that new automobiles sold in this country be capable of using alcohol-based fuels like ethanol, methanol or butanol instead of or together with gasoline.
This is a well-known technology. There are already 6 million such “Flexible Fuel Vehicles” (FFVs) on America’s highways. Seventy percent of Brazil’s cars are FFVs, many of them made by U.S. auto manufacturers. It costs less than $100 per car to allow a new car to be gasoline-independent – less than it costs to fill up many of our vehicles at today’s gas prices.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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