Why Support the Open Fuel Standard?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

1. Saves money. It will bring down gas prices at the pump. The main reason gas is so expensive is that OPEC has no competition, so it can (and does) deliberately lower its production to raise the price of oil, and we have no choice but to pay it. OPEC knows this, and takes advantage of its leverage. Fuel choice at the pump will be the end of this long-running and destructive monopoly.

2. Healthier. The fumes from burning alcohol are less toxic than the fumes from burning gasoline — considerably less toxic to humans and other living things.

3. Better economy. Better economy. An open fuel standard will generate jobs in the United States. Americans will build fuel-processing plants, new fuel stations, we’ll grow the raw materials to make methanol from biomass, grow crops to make ethanol, discover new sources, invent new alternative fuels, and come up with new ways to make fuel from waste products. American ingenuity will have a field day. A lot of money goes to fuel for transportation. With an open fuel standard, much more of this money will circulate in the American economy rather than being sent overseas. In addition, becoming less dependent on oil will prevent recessions.

4. Safer. Alcohol is less flammable than gasoline, and therefore less dangerous and less likely to explode. One of the things that makes gasoline dangerous is that its vapors sink to the ground where they can ignite. Alcohol vapors evaporate and dissipate. Alcohol burns cooler than gasoline, too, which also makes it less dangerous. That's why the United States Auto Club banned gasoline from their races.

5. Less carbon impact. Alcohol fuels put less carbon into the air. To drill for oil, you're taking carbon out from underneath the surface of the earth and burning it, adding carbon to the air that wasn't already there. But ethanol and methanol can be made from plant material. So the plant pulls carbon out of the air, and when it is burned as fuel, it returns the same carbon back into the air.

6. Inexpensive. Manufacturing a car with flex-fuel capability adds very little to the price of a car. It is a relatively small tweak, usually adding around one hundred dollars to the production cost of a new car. In Brazil, this cost is absorbed by the car companies and doesn’t raise the price of the car. That will probably be the case in the U.S. too.

7. Budget friendly. It doesn't cost the federal government any money. It doesn't involve any subsidies. Read the text of the bill here to see how simple it is.

8. Environmentally friendly. An "alcohol spill" would not be a disaster like an oil spill. Alcohol dissolves in water and is readily consumed by bacteria. Within a few days of an Exxon-sized ethanol or methanol spill, the ocean would be back to normal.

9. National security. Fuel competition at the pump will reduce the amount of money going to regimes hostile to America (and hostile to their own populations). These regimes are dangerous. The world would be better off if those governments didn't have so much wealth to use to harm or repress others. Read more about that.

10. Freedom. With the Open Fuel Standard Act, every alternative fuel can compete against gasoline, thereby allowing consumer choice. Cars can be flex fuel, electric, hydrogen, natural gas, biodiesel, or anything except monopoly-perpetuating gasoline-only cars.

The Open Fuel Standard Act will bring an end to oil’s long-running harmful monopoly of transportation fuel, and will usher in a new era of economic vitality and energy independence in America.

11. Good for everyone. It will have a positive global impact, for two reasons: First, because the U.S. buys so many cars, when foreign car makers switch to making flex fuel cars, those same cars will be sold in other parts of the world, spreading fuel choice everywhere (and reducing pollution, reducing environmental damage from oil spills, and reducing carbon in the air everywhere, too).

And second, methanol from biomass will probably become the preferred fuel (it's very cheap, high octane, and can be made from almost anything, including municipal waste). And Third World countries — especially those in tropical regions, where plants grow abundantly — will have money-making opportunities to cultivate plants to use for biomass, creating a market for their products, which will raise their income.

For all these reasons, The Open Fuel Standard is worthy of our support. Here's what you can do to help.

Here's another list, courtesy of AlcoholCanBeaGas.com: Why Alcohol Fuel? The Two-Minute Summary.


Anonymous,  May 28, 2011 at 10:25 AM  

A very good idea whose time has come.

Overseas, I wonder if the Chinese will begin to resist the high price of oil from Saudi Arabia. How long will it be before Beijing faces down the King in Ryadh with the first and final warning?

David Trahan May 30, 2011 at 7:55 AM  

A great idea, and should be obvious.

FYI. China is now the largest producer and the largest consumer of methanol in the world. The methanol institute, www.methanol.org, is spending considerable time there instructing on the safe handling and proper use of methanol in the growing transportation fleet.

Anonymous,  June 3, 2011 at 10:31 AM  

Just as long as you don't use food, corn, grains to make ethanol and use switch grass, hemp and other high cellulose material. There's a direct correlation with using grains, corn especially, and rising food prices because corn is in everything. Either directly or indirectly as feed for livestock! Frankly, using food for fuel is insane! And no Government subsidies for ethanol, but I can live with tax breaks. If you can do all that, I'm with you. But I suspect there's a big farm lobby behind this and you will use corn. And you will still need oil to manufacture fertilizer, unless you go with organic fertilizer and that's not cost effective and using chemical fertilizer pollutes ground water with nitrates and other salts. Have you thought this through? I think T-Boone Pickens has a better idea with natural gas.

Abe Shackleton June 3, 2011 at 5:48 PM  

This bill has a total lack of favoritism. It supports methanol (and most methanol is made from natural gas), ethanol, electric cars, whatever. Including natural gas cars. As long as the car is not limited to burning only and exclusively gasoline, anything goes.

About the food issue, the good news is that producing alcohol fuels will not take away from food production. One of the reasons ethanol was produced in the first place is because American farmers were producing too much food. It was depressing the price of grain all over the world, putting farmers out of business.

They tried to find other uses for this abundant excess, and ethanol was one of their solutions.

But ethanol is not the only option. This bill puts methanol on equal footing with ethanol, and methanol can be made from just about anything.

The reason many of us think making ethanol raises food prices is because the oil industry spent millions in a public relations campaign in 2008 to give us that impression. The idea has been thoroughly debunked, but the debunking didn't have nearly as much money behind it. Read more about it here.

Read more: Will Food Prices Go Up When There is a Big Market For Alcohol Fuels?

Anonymous,  September 26, 2011 at 5:06 PM  

So important, having options and weaning ourselves off foreign oil as the sole energy source is necessary! Ethanol/Methanol opens up new sources of energy like cellulosic ethanol/hemp and other ethanols not just corn. This bill will change our economy for the better and lay a foundation for a healthier future.

Sad it's taken this long.

Bob Stanton January 29, 2013 at 5:20 AM  

Is methanol a liquid? Would it be put in your gas tank?

Adam for Fuel Competition January 29, 2013 at 11:35 AM  

Yes, Bob, methanol is a liquid. Read more about it here:

What is Methanol?

Modern flex fuel cars were invented using methanol. Read more about that here.

Anonymous,  May 16, 2013 at 5:10 AM  

Isn't methanol highly toxic to fish? If so, a spill at sea or in water would be devastating. Look up the spill in Tennessee seveeral years ago.

Anonymous,  July 10, 2013 at 5:54 AM  

How are these alternative fuels going to be made commercially available in 4 years? Look at the mess with celluosic biofuels and RINs from the last two years. There is little infrastructure for any of it, except minimal for electric and natural gas. Plus car companies will resist it because they have to add technology to produce these cars.

wri7913 November 1, 2013 at 6:02 PM  

"Plus car companies will resist it because they have to add technology to produce these cars. "

Same excuse I've heard from a different lobby and its pure BS. Once upon a time, the Television industry kept telling Deaf people they couldn't put Closed Captioning decoders in the TV because it would cost hundreds of dollars to install it and make it work. 1995 rolls around and Congress passed the ADA law (American's with Disabilities Act). The requiremen from the ADA was that all TV's manufacturered after 1995 MUST include closed captioning in the TV to comply with the Law. Television manufacturers miraculously found a way to produce the TV's at the similar cost with the CC device only costing a miniscule $1 to install the device. Now older Americans who lose their hearing can still enjoy watching TV, and all Deaf are happier. OFS has already stated the cost for adding flex fuel is less than $100. The benefits outweight those costs by having competition.

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