Roundup

Tom Friedman:
"The president can start by pushing the bipartisan Fuel Choices for American Security Act, now wending its way through Congress. This bill would mandate that every car sold in America would not just have seat belts, but would also be flex-fuel capable so it could run on ethanol, methanol or gasoline. It would also pave the way for the rapid commercialization of plug-in hybrid vehicles, which would combine electricity and gasoline to get 100 miles out of every gallon of gasoline consumed.

"Finally, the bill would offer Detroit loan guarantees for transforming its fleets in this direction. "We're going to have to bail out Detroit anyway, so let's at least get some public benefit," the energy expert Anne Korin said."

Set America Free Coalition members Jim Woolsey & Gal Luft in the Houston Chronicle:
"Large-scale deployment of flexible fuel vehicles running on alcohol, gasoline or any mixture of the two will allow Americans to choose secure domestic fuel over problematic foreign oil. Since the additional per-vehicle cost associated with flexible fuel vehicles is currently under $200, fuel flexibility should become a standard feature in every car ? like seatbelts or airbags.

"Plug-in hybrid vehicles, unlike standard hybrids, can draw charge not only from the engine and captured braking energy, but also from America's electrical grid [...]

"These technologies exist. There is no need to wait for technological breakthroughs, invest billions in research and development or embark on massive infrastructure changes. What is needed is congressional action to build on the president's call by enacting the necessary incentives for
producers to make, and consumers to buy, cars that offer fuel choices while encouraging the development of a mass market for alternative fuels, along with the modest necessary changes in the distribution system. Such policies would make the U.S. economy more resilient and put it on a trajectory toward oil security."

Coalition members Luft and Deron Lovaas:
"With oil trading near $75 a barrel, one can only wonder how much higher prices might get should this year's hurricane season be as lethal as last year's, should a full-blown civil war erupt in Nigeria or Iraq, should terrorists attack a Saudi facility or should a standoff with Iran results in a disruption in oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz. Each of these scenarios could take oil prices to the three-digit domain with profound implications for the U.S. economy and the world economy at large.

"As it is, the U.S. economy is bleeding?three-quarters of a billion dollars leave our country each day in exchange for imported oil. That's more than $450,000 a minute.

"Worse, a portion of the money ends up in the coffers of undemocratic, unstable and/or hostile regimes, which doesn't add to our ability to win the war on terrorism. At the same time the U.S. finds itself embroiled in a potentially aggressive competition with emerging Asian powers like China over access to energy resources."

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