The really good news is that both Senators John McCain and Barak Obama have declared their support for the Open Fuel Standard that must be adopted to ensure that each of the roughly 17 million cars we buy in this country every year are Flexible Fuel Vehicles. In a speech last week, Sen. McCain declared:
“Our government must also level the playing field for all alcohol fuels that break the monopoly of gasoline, to lower both gasoline prices and carbon emissions. This can be done with a simple federal standard to hasten the conversion of all new vehicles in America to flex-fuel technology – allowing drivers to use alcohol fuels instead of gas in their cars. Whether it takes a meeting with automakers during my first month in office, or my signature on an act of Congress, we will meet the goal of a swift conversion of American vehicles away from oil.”
For its part, the Obama campaign website features the following commitment:
“Mandate All New Vehicles are Flexible Fuel Vehicles: Barack Obama believes that all new vehicles sold in the U.S. should be flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), which means they can run on biofuel blends like E85. Obama will work with Congress and auto companies to ensure that all new vehicles have FFV capability by the end of his first term in office.”
Both of these would-be presidents and leaders of their respective parties understand a central reality: It is not just a sensible policy approach to begin making our automotive fleet independent from gasoline. It would be utterly irresponsible to do otherwise, particularly given that those cars will on average be on our roads for approximately 17 years. If they are not FFVs, we will be locking ourselves into the present form of taxation without representation for decades to come.
It stands to reason that replacing OPEC’s monopoly with fuel competition will force the cartel and commodities speculators to drop the price of oil. At the very least, the predictable emergence of tens of millions of cars here and abroad that don’t require gasoline will create a free market in various alcohol-based “Freedom Fuels” that are considerably less expensive to produce than gasoline at prices well below today’s.
Congress is said to be incapable of acting before the November elections due to the partisan gridlock that has set in with a vengeance – even on so pressing a matter as gas prices and energy security. Given the stakes for our people and country, however, getting an Open Fuel Standard adopted this year should be a test of the avowed desire of both Messrs. McCain and Obama to work across the aisle to get things done. And every member of Congress should be challenged during this week’s recess: Will you declare our independence from OPEC’s oil stranglehold by adopting the Open Fuel Standard now?
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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