(Double) Open Standards

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What would it cost to require that all new cars should be GEM (gasoline, ethanol, and methanol) flexible — and to pay a $200 incentive payment back to the manufacturers to compensate them for this? If 15 million cars are sold each year in the U.S., this would work out to a cost of $3 billion per year — much less than the potential savings of oil at over $100 per barrel even when long-term national security benefits are not accounted for.

Some lobbyists have labeled this idea a government mandate. But really, this is closer in spirit to the Open Standards for Digital Television that the U.S. Congress has ordered starting in 2009. The goal is not to mandate a choice of fuel, but to establish open fuel standards: open standards for competition in the fuel market.

The new standards for the television industry are estimated to cost much more than the $3 billion, but it has been agreed that the value of open competition in the television industry is large enough to justify the cost and the standards.

Is digital television really more important to national security and the U.S. economy than our dependence on oil from OPEC?

The above is quoted from Chapter 19 of Energy Security Challenges for the 21st Century, from a chapter by Paul J. Werbos entitled, Technological Solutions for Energy Security.


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