The Saudis hate alcohol

It’s official. Right from the top. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia hates biofuels. Out of concern for the environment and world energy security, of course. At the International Oil Summit in Paris Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi promised that fossil fuels will supply the bulk of global energy needs for at least the next 50 years. He said that “ethanol and other biofuels do not meet environmental and energy security goals” and that “their cultivation eats into the human food supply, reduces the absorption of carbon dioxide as forests are cut down, has not improved the security of energy supply and has not reduced petrol prices.” Biofuels also enjoy “financial favouritism” from governments, according to the minister.
“we have to look beyond biofuels… and concentrate instead on truly renewable sources of energy,” he said, flagging solar energy as “perhaps the best source” of alternative energy, predicting researchers will succeed in making solar cells “more effective” to expand use. What the Saudis omit is that we no longer produce electricity from oil so solar power is no threat. This cannot be said about alcohols which directly displace oil and snatch petrodollars from the Saudi coffers.

Merrill Lynch analyst Francisco Blanch just told the WSJ that without biofuels, the price of oil would be about 15% higher than it now is. This means at least $13 higher. This year the US will import 5 billion barrels. At $13 saving for each barrel, that adds up to a saving to the country as a whole of $65 billion in foriegn oil payments due to current biofuel programs.
That shows that our biofuels program has cost the Saudis billions. No wonder they are opposed to it. It just needs to be taken further.

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