How to Break Both Oil's Monopoly and OPEC's Cartel

[Innovations-MIT] R. James Woolsey and Anne Korin - As the leading countries of OPEC, Saudi Arabia and Iran, the same Sunni and Shi'ite theocratic and dictatorial regimes that most strongly resist America's efforts to bring democracy and the rule of law to the Middle East, will increasingly sit in the driver's seat of the global economy. Should the world's biggest natural gas reserve holders - in order Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE - proceed with plans to create an OPEC-like natural gas cartel, we can expect a further consolidation of power among the world's primary energy producers. Oil's monopoly in the transportation sector is the reason oil is a strategic commodity. Ensuring that new cars sold in the U.S. are platforms on which fuels can compete will spark a competitive market in fuels made from a wide array of energy sources, thus breaking oil's transportation fuel monopoly and eventually stripping oil of its strategic status. For a cost of less than $100, automakers can make virtually any car a flex fuel vehicle, capable of running on any combination of gasoline and a variety of alcohols such as ethanol and methanol, and in the future butanol, made from a variety of feedstocks. R. James Woolsey is a former director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Anne Korin is co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.

2009-02-06 06:00:00

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