The only way to break the OPEC cartel of oil-producing nations is to figure out how to make the commodity as boring as salt, Foundation for Defense of Democracies Chairman and ex-CIA head James Woolsey said at the Herzliya Conference Wednesday.
Salt held a monopoly over meat preservation until the introduction of electricity grids paved the way for refrigeration, Woolsey said. Similarly, he added, oil still has an almost complete monopoly on transportation, and “you can’t live without that next bite of food, which in the US travels an average distance of 1500 miles before getting to you.”
Woolsey said there were four energy sources vehicles can drive on that are cheaper than oil: ethanol, methanol, electricity, and natural gas. He proposed following Brazil’s example, where cars are converted quite cheaply to allow them to run on ethanol, which the South American nation produces from sugar cane to cut down on costs.
Vehicles can be converted to run on ethanol or methanol simply by purchasing an o-ring for around 41 cents from the local hardware store, Woolsey said.