Robert Zubrin, author of Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil and President of Pioneer Astronautics released another statement in defense of an Open Fuel Standard today. Notably, the author focuses on the fact that auto makers are owned or heavily influenced by big oil interests and thus will never move to flex fuel unless forced to do so.
“At one time, adding flex-fuel capability to a car increased its production cost by about $100. That is no longer true. Currently, all new gasoline-powered cars sold in the U.S. are flex-fuel cars, but only about 5 percent are being sold as such. The rest are being marketed with their flex-fuel capability disabled by their manufacturers.”
“… why should it [auto industry] choose to cripple a capability that otherwise could serve to erode prices at the pump? It seems like a very bizarre policy — until you look at who owns and controls the auto companies.”
“What about the two biggest American auto companies, GM and Ford? The dominant positions in these companies are held by major Wall Street firms whose collective energy holdings exceed $700 billion. Thus, while the $9 billion these funds have invested in GM and the $24 billion placed in Ford are of great weight to the auto companies, the funds themselves are far more concerned about protecting their investments in oil.”
The article is worth a read. It describes the uphill battle that corn farmers and ethanol manufacturers have in the war against foreign oil, which will be difficult. Of course, that which doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger.