Brazilian mini-car can run on both gasoline, ethanol 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout)
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 director James Woolsey said Wednesday at the
Salt held a monopoly over meat preservation until
the introduction of electricity grids paved the way for refrigeration, Woolsey
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 1,500 miles before getting to
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
sugarcane to cut down on costs.
Vehicles can be converted to run on
ethanol or methanol simply by purchasing an O-ring (a mechanical gasket) for
about 41 cents from the local hardware store, Woolsey said.
“If you can
pull into a filling station and drive on gasoline, ethanol or methanol at your
choice, we don’t have the price of oil being set any more by OPEC,” he said. “We
have you telling OPEC what parameters it needs to operate in, because you get to
decide what to drive on, just like a Brazilian.”
Woolsey made the
comments while speaking about possible scenarios involving oil production. The
other speakers on the panel were Beijing Energy Efficiency Center founding
director Zhou Dadi, International Energy Agency head Aad van Bohemen, Dr. Brenda
Shaffer of Haifa University’s political science department, and Israeli
Institute for Economic Planning chairman Yossie Hollander.