Archive for March, 2008

“Gusher of Lies” Author Chickens Out of Debate

Monday, March 31st, 2008

On March 25, I challenged Robert Bryce, author of “Gusher of Lies,” a book saying we don’t need to do anything for energy independence, to public debate. He accepted the same day. The Set America Free Coalition immediately stepped forward and offered to host a debate in Washington DC at the end of April. However, today his publicist called me to say that he was chickening out of the DC debate. She said he couldn’t make it to DC. So I offered to meet him in NYC instead. Not possible. Chicago? No. Denver? No. Los Angeles? No. I offered to travel to any other city to do the debate at any place of his convenience. She answered that he could not make it there, either.
So for now, the “Gusher of Lies” continues, in hiding from refutation.
The challenge remains open.
Robert Zubrin

Set America Free mourns Milton Copulos

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

With deep sadness we announce the passing of our friend and colleague Milton Copulos, president of the National Defense Council Foundation, senior fellow at IAGS and a founding member of the Set America Free Coalition.

For more than three decades, Milton was a prominent figure in national political circles and one of the nation’s top experts on energy security, natural resources, national defense and international politics.

He served as a cabinet-level advisor in two administrations and his views on energy security were sought after by many members of Congress and policymakers.

Over his long career Milt published more than 900 articles, books and monographs including the comparative economic costs of alternative fuels considered the most comprehensive examination of the topic to date. His book “America’s Achilles Heel, the Hidden Cost of Imported Oil” (summary) has become a staple among energy researchers.

His writing appeared in such prominent national news media as The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune. He was a frequent contributor to periodicals such as Insight Magazine, VFW Magazine and Regulation Magazine. His book “Energy Perspectives” was a Washington Post nonfiction best seller, and for four years he wrote a nationally syndicated column on energy and environmental issues distributed by the Heritage Features Syndicate. He appeared on nationally broadcast news and information programs including FOX News. During the Afghanistan War he was an on-air military analyst for MSNBC.

Milt was a veteran of two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was awarded the Bronze Star and several other Army Commendation Medals. “As a war veteran, Milt understood perhaps better than anybody else both the economic and military dimension of our oil dependence, and his voice calling for energy independence was particularly influential,” said IAGS executive director Gal Luft. “Milt was there from the start of Set America Free. He took his work very seriously but never himself. He was always ready to share an anecdote and a salty joke. We are richer for having known him, and will strive to continue his legacy,” said Set America Free Coalition chair Anne Korin.

A soldier, scholar, advocate and, most important, a friend, he will be greatly missed. Our deepest sympathy to Janet and the rest of the Copulos family.

Video clip of Milton from the launch of Set America Free in 2004:


I feel the need, the need for speed

Monday, March 10th, 2008

Well we’ve got more details on that Lotus Exige 270E Tri-Fuel, a GEM FFV (which stands for gasoline-ethanol-methanol flex fuel vehicle, but you knew that already right?):

The heart of the Exige 270E Tri-fuel is a Roots-type supercharger (with a sealed-for-life internal mechanism meaning that it does not require the use of the engine’s oil) and air to air intercooler attached to the tried and tested 4-cylinder, 1.8 litre 2ZZ-GE VVTL-i engine. Using a development of the supercharger and intercooler package from the Exige S, the Exige 270E Tri-fuel has peak power of 270 hp (201 kW / 273 PS) at 8000 rpm, 184 lbft (260 Nm) of torque at 5500 rpm, up by 51 hp (38 kW, 52 PS) or 19% and 25 lbft 45 Nm or 14% over the standard gasoline Exige S. Maximum engine speed is 8000 rpm (8500 rpm transient for up to 2 seconds).

The low carbon number alcohol fuels methanol and ethanol give more power when burned in the engine than conventional gasoline (petrol) fuel. The performance benefits come largely from the high heats of vaporization of methanol and ethanol, which give strong charge-cooling effects, and the increased octane ratings. There are other secondary thermodynamic effects. Methanol’s higher heat of vaporization leads to a slightly higher performance relative to ethanol. All charge air ducting has been kept as short as possible with large diameter pipes making sure that the bends in these ducts are not too tight, to the benefit of throttle response and efficiency. The Roots-type Eaton M62 supercharger is turned by the crankshaft, and has an integral bypass valve for part load operation.

The 2ZZ VVTL-i engine has two cam profiles – a high speed cam and a low speed cam. The seamless switch point between these two cams is completely variable depending upon driving conditions and engine load. This gives the Lotus Exige 270E Tri-fuel a smooth and linear surge of power from idle speeds all the way to the maximum 8500rpm. An electronic drive-by-wire throttle ensures the quickest engine response possible whilst keeping the emissions as clean and as low as possible, to meet relevant legislative demands. Six fuel injectors have been fitted to increase fuel flow to the engine at normal and higher engine speeds and loads.

We called Lotus but it seems this car is not being offered for sale by Lotus U.S.dealers (Lotus is a British firm.) As always — this is a good opportunity to let your local auto dealers know that you want fuel choice, and they should bring it on.

Stop OPEC’s hold

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Scott Blanchard writes in The Birmingham News:

A little-known section of the Energy Security Act of 2007 contained a provision that would require within five years all new vehicles sold (foreign and domestic) in the United States be capable of running on alcohol fuels (a k a “flex fuel”) as well as gasoline. It costs, on average, about $100 to make a car flex-fuel capable. The most common flex fuel available today is ethanol, or E85, but flex-fuel cars can run on any alcohol-based fuel such as methanol or butanol and, of course, on gasoline.

This one provision would have had the effect of creating an international standard for flex-fuel automobiles. In turn, it would have had a domino effect forcing foreign automakers to equip their vehicles for flex fuel (or risk losing the huge U.S. market). [...] gasoline would be forced to compete with alcohol fuels. [...]

[Let's] seek to persuade our members of Congress that it is in our interest to have fuel choice. Had the Open Fuel Standard mentioned above been enacted (and not removed at the last moment due to lobbying by Nissan Motor Co.), we would be well on our way toward weaning ourselves off the shackles of our oil addiction.

How do you say farvegnugen in Swedish?

Friday, March 7th, 2008

The Methanol Institute reports Volvo and Lotus are showing gasoline-ethanol-methanol flex fuel vehicles (GEM FFVs):

Even President George Bush was impressed when he walked on to the exhibit floor of the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference and saw Volvo’s display of seven trucks powered by alternative fuels, including methanol/ethanol and DME. Volvo had showcased the carbon-dioxide-neutral trucks in Stockholm and Brussels last year. The Swedish automaker pointed to the production of methanol from the gasification of biomass as a carbonneutral pathway. According to Volvo Environmental Projects Manager Henrik Landälv, while one of the trucks is dedicated to run on either methanol or ethanol, these are pre-commercial prototypes that will require additional development. Based on a their evaluation, Volvo found methanol and DME to be superior to ethanol and biodiesel for climate impact, energy efficiency, land use efficiency, fuel potential, and fuel costs. Back across the pond, Lotus Engineering unveiled the Exige 270E Tri-fuel at the Geneva International Motor Show. Tri-fuel runs on any mixture of methanol, ethanol and gasoline, with a top speed of 158 mph, and jumping from 0-60 mph in 3.88 seconds. According to Geraint Castleton-White of Lotus, “For car companies and the motorist, the use of sustainable alcohols like synthetic methanol requires relatively fuel changes to the vehicle.”

Lotus Exige 270E Tri-Fuel

 Lotus Exige 270E Tri-Fuel: a gasoline-ethanol-methanol flexible vehicle. 

As Michael Ledeen would say: Faster please!

Fields of Fuel

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

New movie featuring several Set America Free Coalition members.

Electric world

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Plug in for America:

Norwegian electric-car company Think Global plans to bring its five-seat crossover concept vehicle, called the Think Ox, to the U.S. market as early as 2010, said Don Cochrane, the company’s U.K. sales and marketing director.

The car, which will have a top speed of about 85 mph and will be able to drive for about 125 miles on one charge, has been designed specifically with the United States in mind, but will also be sold internationally, he said.

Think Global is also considering making a plug in hybrid:

Cochrane added that the company also is considering adding a serial hybrid powertrain, which would pair the electric motor with an engine that uses fuel to give the vehicle unlimited range.

Remember: hardly any US electricity is generated from oil, so driving on electricity, whether in a pure electric vehicle or a plug in hybrid means not driving on oil. And the best of all worlds is a flex fuel plug in hybrid. Bring it on, automakers!

electric power generation by energy source

How about those wheels

Thursday, March 6th, 2008


President Bush drops by to take a look at Jim Woolsey’s newly converted plug in hybrid vehicle and admires its “bin Laden Hates This Car” bumper sticker.


Stop funding the enemy

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Dr. Jeffrey B. Zeiger writes in the Minnesota Daily:

“Let’s look back at the early 1970s when we as Americans had to deal with the Arab Oil Embargo. In those years, America’s economy was thrown into complete chaos and we produced 70 percent of the oil we used yearly. Today, America produces about 40 percent of our own fuel; not very promising. Can you imagine another oil embargo or $200 a barrel? [...]Let’s stop fighting over miles per gallon, farmers being subsidized, not enough land and food vs. fuel. These are not the issues at hand; the issues at hand are our own survival. Stop funding our enemies and demand that Congress mandate that all vehicles be flex-fueled vehicles”

Oil and the New Economic Order

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Read a new report by Gal Luft about the implication of $100 oil as Sovereign Wealth Funds owned by oil rich autocrats buy chunks of the global economy:

“Unlike ordinary investors motivated solely by desire to maximize the value of their shares, governments have a broader agenda—to maximize their geopolitical influence and sometimes to promote ideologies that are blatantly anti-Western.”