Last year, I conducted a highly publicized demonstration showing that ordinary American cars could readily be made to operate on methanol, achieving over 40 percent better fuel economy and much lower emissions than on gasoline. In that test, a 2007 Chevy Cobalt was shown to achieve 24.6 miles per gallon running on 100 percent methanol, with the only required physical alteration being the replacement of a non-methanol-compatible Viton fuel-pump seal with a 41-cent part made of methanol-compatible Buna-n. And methanol is now selling for just $1.32 per gallon, without any subsidy.
As methanol can be cheaply produced from natural gas, coal, biomass, or trash — all resources the United States holds in great abundance — this test showed that America could readily free itself from oil imports simply by passing the Open Fuel Standard (OFS) law requiring that all new cars sold in the U.S. be methanol-compatible flex-fuel vehicles. By forcing gasoline to compete at the pump with cheap methanol, such a measure would put a permanent constraint on the price of oil, thereby breaking the power of the Islamist-led OPEC cartel and protecting the nation from the economy-wrecking effects of petroleum price spikes, shown in the figure below.
Every oil-price hike over the past four decades was soon followed by a sharp rise in unemployment.