How to Write a Letter to Your Representative

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The following is a letter Jeffrey J. Mathews of the Henry Ford Project wrote to his Representative. You can use it as a model for a letter you write to yours. The most powerful form of a letter is handwritten. Here's Mathews' letter:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Congressman ******:

I am writing to you today to ask you to please support the Open Fuel Standard (H.R. 2493).  The Open Fuel Standard (OFS) would require 30 percent of new automobiles in 2015, 50 percent in 2016, and 50 percent in each subsequent year, to operate on non-petroleum fuels in addition to or instead of petroleum based fuels.

The OFS would bring consumer choice to Americans.  The vast majority of us presently do not have a choice to fuel our automobiles.  Only gasoline and diesel fuel are available. The petroleum industry has a monopoly in this country; it is not a monopoly by one particular oil company as was the case over a hundred years ago with Standard Oil.  No, this is an entire industry that has the American people in a chokehold.

For one, the availability of alternative fuels saves money for consumers.  Personally, I use E85 ethanol from Thornton’s gas stations in my home town.  Presently, the price at the pump is $2.79.  Have you seen the average price of gasoline lately?  Thornton’s station is the only place I can go locally to get ethanol for both of my converted cars, both of which left their respective factories as gas-only vehicles.

My primary concern, besides the obvious environmental impact upon the Earth, is our own national security in the United States.  Fuel competition at the pump will reduce the amount of money going to the regimes that are hostile to America (and hostile to their own populations). The world would be better off if those governments didn't have so much wealth to use to harm or repress others.

As a Republican representative, you already know the value of having a free and open marketplace.  I am asking you to support the Open Fuel Standard, H.R. 2493.

Yours truly,

Jeffrey J. Mathews

P.S.  I also wish to thank you for voting to stop the NSA from spying on us American citizens as if we were all criminals.  You tried anyway.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Rather than asking your Member of Congress to support the bill, ask her or him to co-sponsor the bill. It is a stronger commitment. 


Prices Drop When the Supply Increases, Right?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Global oil production reached a record high in 2012, writes Gal Sitty on the blog, Refueling America. "Earlier this year, on the very same blog, the EIA released information showing that 2012 also saw record high oil prices. This may come as a shock to many people who might believe that drilling more oil will decrease prices..."

The reason it comes as a shock is that we think if there is more supply, the price should come down. In a competitive market, that is the case, but oil does not have competition. Our cars, planes, trucks, ships and planes are almost all warranted to burn no other fuel than petroleum. The market is fixed. And OPEC fixes the price. It's a monopoly.

"Breaking this monopoly can be achieved by enabling drivers to choose between fuels when filling up their gas tanks," writes Sitty. "Cars like the Chevy Volt, which can run on either electricity or gasoline, are an example of how consumer choice with regards to fuel can save drivers money. Other fuels such as ethanol and methanol can also be used to expand consumer choice, with a significantly smaller capital investment, by making slight modifications to existing vehicles to facilitate the safe and efficient use of these fuels. Lastly, unlike gasoline and diesel, which are only produced from oil, ethanol, methanol and electricity can all be produced from multiple sources, further increasing consumer choice and hence competition."

With a stroke of a pen, fuel competition can come into being nationwide. The Open Fuel Standard can do it quickly and efficiently. Please get everyone you know to help this happen. You can find all the tools you need to get started by clicking here.


Where Does Your Fuel Money Go?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The unbelievably wealthy city of Dubai launched a campaign last week to get its overweight citizens to slim down. The government is going to reward dieters with one gram of gold for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) they lose.

Where do they get so much wealth? Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates, a member of OPEC. Worldwide oil prices are kept high by OPEC's illegal price-fixing cartel. And because our vehicles have not been warranted to burn competing fuels, 95 percent of all transportation vehicles in the world burn nothing but petroleum.

Until our cars can allow competition, we are stuck paying exorbitant prices for fuel so that OPEC nations can (among many other things) lavishly give away money to its fat citizens.

Let's end it now. Urge your Representative to co-sponsor the Open Fuel Standard.


Gas Prices Do Not Reflect a Free Market

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gas prices actually have nothing to do with the break-even price of private oil companies, said Anne Korin at a recent media briefing. Instead, it’s about the price required to balance the budget of the OPEC regime. The Arab Spring, a series of demonstrations and protests in the Arab world that began at the end of 2010, has had a profound impact on the fiscal breakeven price of oil. After these events, OPEC had a choice—sell more oil at a lower price or sell less oil at a higher price. “Being an oil cartel, OPEC will always choose to sell fewer barrels at a higher price,” she said.

And, she pointed out, that break-even price to meet OPEC’s budget has continued to grow over the years. In the 1990s OPEC said $20 a barrel of oil was a fair price. Today, it’s $90 or $100 a barrel and more for certain OPEC countries. “And it will simply go higher and higher,” she said.

The above is excerpted from an article by Holly Jessen. Read the whole article here.

We do not need to continue being robbed by OPEC. The Open Fuel Standard will bring fuel prices down by creating fuel competition, and it will take surprisingly little time. If you want to help change America's trajectory, start here.


The Open Fuel Standard is a Legitimate Exception to the No-Mandates Principle

Friday, July 19, 2013

It is wise to resist mandates as a general rule. As much as possible, we should avoid allowing the government to interfere with private enterprise. And the Open Fuel Standard is a mandate. It requires automakers to manufacture and warrant their vehicles to burn not just gasoline, but methanol and ethanol as well. It might seem reasonable to categorically reject the bill because it's a government mandate.

On the other hand, one of the most legitimate uses of government power is breaking up monopolies. And oil is definitely monopolizing the transportation fuel market. And because it is, our national security and economic viability are suffering. But oil's monopoly can be broken and fuel competition can commence with the passing of the OFS bill — a simple bill only six pages long that costs taxpayers nothing and creates no subsidies, but a bill with enormous repercussions. The purpose of the bill is to break the monopoly.

Monopolies inhibit free markets, and in this case, the monopoly is preventing competition with the most strategically important commodity on earth: Transportation fuel.

So in spite of the fact that the bill is a mandate, it should be done. Constituents (you and me) simply need to make it clear to our Members of Congress that the Open Fuel Standard is a mandate that should be passed. The repugnance many of us feel to mandates in general should not blind us to the need for this exception.

"The intellectual inflexibility displayed in the defense of the sacred principle of no-mandates," write Anne Korin and Gal Luft in their book, Petropoly, "is leading the United States to economic suicide. There is no gentler way of saying it: members of Congress — many of whom voted for mandates from digital television to rear end cameras in cars — who oppose measures that open the fuel market to competition are aiding and abetting OPEC and others who benefit from the single-fuel system. In the end, it is they who stand between the perpetuation of a restrictive, monopolistic and economically ruinous fuel system and a free and competitive fuel market which could provide us true and lasting energy security."

Convince your Members of Congress. Here's where to start.


Breakthroughs For Petroleum's Competitors — Please Vote

Saturday, July 13, 2013

National Geographic asked two dozen experts what inventions and technical innovations biofuels need to become viable competitors to petroleum. You can read the whole article here: What Breakthroughs Do Biofuels Need?

The experts came up with five breakthroughs. One of them is "True Choice at the Pump," which I will excerpt below. Anne Korin, co-author of Petropoly and Turning Oil Into Salt, was one of the experts they talked to.

For biofuels to flourish, they have to be available to consumers, some experts pointed out. Currently, the pipelines and gas pump infrastructure is geared almost entirely to petroleum products (with ethanol a modest 10 percent blend-in to boost octane.) A key problem is that the majority of passenger cars in the United States are not designed to run on high blends of ethanol, even though the technology for flexible fuel cars is inexpensive and well-known. (Most cars in Brazil, for example, are flex-fuel vehicles.) “Let’s give the consumer a choice,” says Doug Berven, vice president of corporate affairs for biofuels company, POET.

Korin’s group endorses the idea of an “Open Fuel Standard,” a policy requiring automakers to make “truly fuel competitive” vehicles, able to run on something other than gasoline. She says it can’t be just requiring a choice of gasoline or ethanol — it has to include fuels such as methanol, which can be made from feedstocks like natural gas.

Beside each of the breakthrough titles are five stars so you can rate the solution. I encourage you to go to the page and vote.


Pass the Open Fuel Standard

Thursday, July 11, 2013

By Robert Zubrin, originally published in National Review.

On June 25, a bipartisan group of congressmen led by Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), Steve Israel (D., N.Y.), Allyson Schwartz (D., Pa.), Collin Peterson (D., Minn.), and Tom Cole (R., Okla.) introduced an excellent bill to the House floor: H.R. 2493, the Open Fuel Standard Act of 2013.

In just six clearly written pages, this piece of legislation would act forcefully to defend the United States from the rapacious Islamist-led Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries oil cartel.

Specifically, the bill would require that, by 2016, 30 percent of all new cars sold in the U.S. be “qualified vehicles” offering consumers an alternative to petroleum-derived fuels. This number would increase to 50 percent by 2018.

According to the bill, “qualified vehicles” could include any of the following: compressed-natural-gas cars, electric cars, biodiesel cars, and fully flex-fuel (methanol-ethanol-gasoline capable) cars. No winners are picked, though from a practical standpoint it is clear that the vast majority of the qualified vehicles will be flex-fuel. That’s because all cars sold in the U.S. already have the essentials of flex-fuel capability engineered into them and only need to have their software enabled, their spark tables corrected, and a few plastic fuel-pump seals replaced with methanol-compatible alternatives to become fully functional methanol-ethanol-gasoline flex-fuel cars.

The effect of doing this would be profound. Methanol can be made from natural gas, coal, recycled trash, or any kind of biomass and is currently selling on the spot market for $1.60 per gallon (and its average price since January 2012 has been about $1.35 per gallon) without any subsidy. Methanol contains only about half as much energy per gallon as does gasoline, but since it is 110 octane fuel, it can be burned more efficiently. In China, where coal-derived methanol (costing less than $0.50 per gallon to produce, and $1.00 per gallon to buy) is now being introduced into the fuel market, the general rule of thumb is that methanol obtains about 60 percent of the mileage that gasoline does. In experiments reported on National Review Online, this writer took a 2007 Chevy Cobalt (which is supposedly not a flex-fuel car), activated its flex-fuel capability, and obtained 24 miles per gallon on the highway. Using gasoline, the same car obtained 36 highway miles per gallon. (From a fuel-economy point of view, this was equivalent to getting around 50 miles per gallon on gasoline.)

The United States currently has a massive glut of cheap natural gas and vast amounts of coal. If the Open Fuel Standard were passed, both of these resources could be utilized to make methanol in nearly unlimited amounts, thereby ending our nation’s dangerous and very costly dependence on foreign oil. Furthermore, if the United States were to require that cars sold in this country give consumers fuel choice, foreign car makers would be compelled to switch their lines over as well. As a result, Japanese, Korean, and European cars sold around the world would all become flex-fuel, forcing gasoline to compete at the pump against methanol everywhere. This would put a permanent global competitive constraint on the price of oil.

The importance of doing this cannot be overstated. Despite some recent growth in oil production and a depressed economy that has reduced U.S. oil consumption by 15 percent since 2007, the United States remains by far the largest oil importer in the world. We currently import about 4.4 billion barrels per year, which at a price of $100 per barrel costs the nation $440 billion per year — equivalent to the loss of 5 million jobs at $88,000 per year each. Furthermore, as a result of this dependency, every time the price of oil goes up, the American economy experiences a tremendous tax — payable ultimately through the world market to the state-run oil companies of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries — which depresses our economy severely. This can be seen clearly in the graph below, which compares oil prices (adjusted for inflation to 2010 dollars) to the U.S. unemployment rate from 1970 to the present. Every oil-price hike for the past four decades, including those in 1973, 1979, 1991, 2001, and 2008, was followed shortly afterward by a sharp rise in American unemployment.

The Open Fuel Standard would end this vulnerability.

On the same day that the bipartisan group introduced the Open Fuel Standard Act, President Obama announced his own energy policy. The contrast between the two approaches could not be more stark.

Where the Obama plan seeks to commit America’s natural-gas resources to replacing American coal, the OFS would create expanded global transportation-fuel markets for both American coal and natural gas, at the expense of OPEC oil.

Where Obama’s plan would drive up energy prices, the OFS would force them down. Where Obama’s plan reduces competition, the OFS would increase it. Where Obama’s plan would render vast American resources useless, the OFS would radically expand their usefulness. Where Obama’s plan would explode the federal deficit, the OFS would cut it drastically. Where Obama’s plan would throw millions of Americans out of work, the OFS would create millions of jobs. Where the Obama plan would protect OPEC, the OFS would break it. Where Obama’s plan would weaken America and strengthen her adversaries, the OFS would strengthen America and weaken her adversaries.

The No. 1 purpose of the federal government is national defense. Since 1973, the United States has been subjected to repeated looting by a cartel of foreign governments inimical to freedom and Western civilization. It is long past time to take effective action to protect America from these attacks.

The OFS would do exactly that. American patriots should rally to secure the passage of this essential bill.

— Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Energy and the author of Energy Victory. His latest book, Merchants of Despair, was published in 2012 by Encounter Books.


First Things First

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Open Fuel Standard bill has been introduced into the House of Representatives. The first thing each of us should do is contact our Representative and urge her or him to co-sponsor the bill. Click here to get contact information for your Representative. Follow that link and you'll see a space in the upper right corner of the page to type your zip code.

The more co-sponsors we get, the more likely the bill will pass. Momentum is everything. Do it soon.

The general rule of thumb for contacting Representatives is that a phone call has more impact than an email, and a handwritten letter has more impact than a phone call. But all of them count. Make a convincing case. Here are some talking points you can use: Why Support the Open Fuel Standard?

And here is a letter you can use as a model: Jeffrey Mathews' letter to his Representative.

And make sure you get an answer back. You are entitled to a response. If you'd like to do more, click here for tips on how to be an effective grassroots advocate.

So, step one is to gather co-sponsors, starting with your district's Representative. Step two: Persuade your family and friends to do the same. If you'd like to do more:
1. Subscribe to the updates on this site. Click here to subscribe.
2. Inform yourself. Click here for recommendations of books, articles, and online videos.
3. Once you've read them or watched them, loan your books to friends and family, and send them the articles and videos.
4. "Like" the Open Fuel Standard Facebook page and "share" our Facebook posts with your Facebook friends and family, and follow the Open Fuel Standard on Twitter.
5. Start your own Facebook campaign or email campaign to help educate the public and gain more allies for our cause. 
6. Initiate conversations with your friends and family and educate them about the Open Fuel Standard. Bookmark and frequently use our Questions and Answers page to help you answer questions people have about the issue.
7. Call your representative and make your voice heard on this issue. Click here for an explanation of how phone calls work, and instructions on how to do it. 
8. Start your own guerrilla marketing campaign and bring in new supporters of this bill who haven't heard of it yet. Click here to find out how to get started. If you want to do even more, click here too. 
9. Make sure your next car is a flex fuel vehicle. We don't have to personally wait until the Open Fuel Standard passes. The more cars on the road that can burn alternative fuels, the sooner we'll see alternative fuel pumps. Click here to find new flex fuel car models.
10. Convert the car you already own to a flex fuel car. Click here to see how it's done. Click here to read about technical requirements for conversions. And when you can burn the fuel, use this fuel station finder to find alcohol pumps near you.
11. Make comments on online articles to help raise awareness of the Open Fuel Standard. Click here to find out how.
12. Start your own public education program on Yahoo Answers. Click here to find out how.
13. Help promote awareness of the Open Fuel Standard bill by creating business cards, bumper stickers and magnets. Click here to find out how.
14. Still more things you can do.


Most Americans Are In Favor of Fuel Competition

Thursday, July 4, 2013

In late January of this year, a thousand adult Americans were asked, "Do you favor or oppose requiring automobile manufacturers to build cars that will run on fuel sources other than oil, such as electricity, natural gas and bio-fuels?" An overwhelming 76 percent of people were in favor of it.

That's what the Open Fuel Standard would do: Require automobiles to make fuel competition possible. But the bill goes one step further. In addition to cars running on fuel sources other than oil, it requires car makers to build cars to run on other fuel sources in addition to gasoline. Luckily, the tweak required to turn a gas-only car into a GEM vehicle (that can burn gasoline, ethanol and methanol in any proportion) is miniscule.

But that one small change ushers in an entirely new economic era for the United States.

Would you like to help make this happen? Start here.


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