There is no reason for us to be dependent on hostile countries for our
While the U.S. is not rich in oil, we do have plenty of other domestic energy
America’s approach to energy security has traditionally been based on two
pillars: diversifying sources of oil and increasing efficiency. Reserves in
non-Middle East countries are being depleted rapidly, and as time passes we
will become even more dependent upon Middle Eastern producers. Therefore,
supply diversification should be viewed as a stopgap solution that can, at
best, buy us a few more years of status quo. Energy conservation is important,
however, with oil consumption expected to grow by 60% over the next 25 years,
the most that can be hoped for is that it will accommodate half of the
projected increase in demand.
Since most of the world’s oil is used in the transportation sector, the only
way to ensure long-term prosperity and security is for the U.S. to lead the
world in a multinational effort to reduce global demand for oil by changing the
transportation fuel playing field. This can be done through a shift to a global
economy based on next-generation fuels and automobiles that can accommodate
Only by adding a third pillar, technological transformation, will we be able to
affect profound change in America’s energy security equation.
Market transformation takes a long time. In the case of the transportation
we should not expect a process shorter than 15-20 years.
That is why it is imperative to begin the process without delay.
We do not have to wait for technological breakthroughs to start
our dependence. There are things we can do right now.It is time to honestly
all the options available to us, and to implement practical solutions
with technologies that are available today. It's time to set America free.
America has a great many domestic resources, not the least of which is the
determination of the American people. American ingenuity has always come
through. We put
a man on the moon. We can become energy independent.
A comprehensive strategy designed to reduce overall demand for oil should be
based on the following principles:
Today, consumers can choose among various octanes of gasoline, which accounts
for 45% of U.S. oil consumption, or diesel, which accounts for almost another
fifth. To these choices should promptly be added non-oil-based fuels that are
domestically produced, clean and affordable.
Real world solutions:
We have no time to wait for commercialization of immature technologies. The
U.S. should implement technologies that have been certified by the Department
of Energy and can be commercialized rapidly. To the extent possible, solutions
compatible with current infrastructure.
Economically sound technologies:
after the initial investments in
infrastructure, next-generation vehicles and fuels should be price-competitive
to what we pay today.
Environmentally sensible choices:
the technologies we rely on should improve public safety and respond to the
public’s environmental concerns.
Domestic resource utilization:
while the U.S. is not rich in oil or natural gas, we have a wealth of other
energy sources that can be easily, cleanly, safely, and cheaply used as fuel
for automotive transportation, among them: hundreds of years worth of coal
reserves (25% of the world's total), billions of tons a year of biomass and
hundreds of million of tons of municipal waste.
Optimal energy use: as long as
gasoline is our main transportation fuel we must increase our fuel efficiency,
increase mileage per gallon and seek technologies that allow us to optimize our
use of scarce resources.
Maintenance of the American way of
life: there is no reason for us to compromise our lifestyles, settle for
smaller, slower, or less comfortable vehicles. Cars running on next generation
fuels can have similar performance to those we use today.
IAGS endorses the following
Fuel additives enhance combustion by up to 25%, and can be blended into
gasoline, diesel, and bunker fuel.
Hybrid electric vehicles, among them the Toyota Prius, Ford Escape and
Honda Civic, are
entering the market by the thousands and increase efficiency by 30-40%.
Next Generation Vehicles
Energy security through fuel choice: Flexible fuel plug-in hybrid electric
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (Plug-in HEVs),a
on the path to fuel cell vehicles, are electric drive cars that run on a
liquid fuel and electricity. Unlike standard hybrids, plug-in hybrids - which
perform much like "regular" vehicles - draw charge not only from captured
but also directly from the grid since they can, as their name suggests, be
plugged in to
a 120-volt outlet (for instance each night at home, or during the workday at a
and charged. Plug-ins run on the stored energy for much of a typical day's
driving - depending
on the size of the battery up to 60 miles per charge, far beyond
the commute of an average
American - and when
the charge is used up, automatically keep running on the fuel in the fuel tank.
who drives fewer miles every day than the car’s electric range would never have
dip into the fuel tank.
Roughly half the cars on the road in the U.S. drive 20 miles a day or less.
A plug-in with a 20-mile range battery would achieve a fuel economy of 100
miles per gallon of gasoline consumed.
Daimler Chrysler's plug-in hybrid electric Sprinter van.
A study by the
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI,) a California-based
research arm of the utility industry, found that consumers like plug-ins
because they would offer the best
of both worlds: the gas savings and emissions reduction benefits of battery
vehicles, and the range of a "normal" car.
Flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) are designed to operate on alcohol, on
gasoline, or on any mixture of the two. Nearly three million FFV's have been
manufactured since 1996. The only difference between an FFV and a gasoline-only
car is a different control chip in the fuel line and some different fittings,
since alcohol is more corrosive than gasoline. The manufacturing cost
differential due to these changes is under $100 per vehicle. That cost would be
reduced further as volume of FFVs increases, particularly if flexible fuel
designs were to become the industry standard.
Flexible fuel plug-in hybrid electric vehicles combine the two
technologies and can thus be powered by any blend of alcohol fuels, gasoline,
Next Generation Fuels
Electricity as a fuel
Less than 2% of U.S. electricity is generated from oil, so using electricity as
a transportation fuel would greatly reduce dependence on petroleum. Plug-ins
would be charged at night in people’s garages, a time interval during which
electric utilities have significant excess capacity. The Electric Power
Research Institute estimates that up to 30% of market penetration for plug-in
hybrid electric vehicles with 20 mile electric range can be achieved without a
need to install new electric capacity.
Alcohol fuels: ethanol, methanol, and other blends
Ethanol, also known as grain alcohol, is currently produced in the U.S.
Upping production entails a shift to producing ethanol from biomass waste and
P-Series fuel (DOE approved,
1999) is a blend
of ethanol, natural gas liquids, and ether made from biomass waste.
Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is produced for the most part from
Expanding domestic production would best be done by producing methanol from coal,
a resource with which the U.S. is abundantly endowed. The commercial
feasibility of coal to
methanol technology was demonstrated as part of the DOE’s clean coal technology
methanol is produced from coal at the Eastman Chemical Company’s Kingsport, TN
under 50 cents a gallon.
It costs about $60,000 to add a fuel pump that serves one of the above fuels to
Non-oil based diesel
Diesel can be produced from coal, from any animal or vegetable fat, and from
such as tires and animal byproducts.
Flexible fuel/plug-in hybrid electric vehicles:
If the two technologies are combined, such vehicles can be powered by any blend
of alcohol fuels,
gasoline, and electricity. If a plug-in vehicle is also a FFV fueled with 80%
20% gasoline, fuel economy could reach 500 miles per gallon of gasoline.
If by 2025, all cars on the road are hybrids and half are plug-in hybrid
vehicles, U.S. oil
imports would drop by 8 million barrels per day (mbd). Today, the U.S. imports
projected imports for 2025 are almost 20 mbd. Were all of these cars also
vehicles, U.S. oil imports would drop by almost 12 mbd.
On the Horizon
Fuel Cell Vehicles powered by hydrogen carrier fuels
to utilizing the vast resources of our country is shifting from the combustion
fuel cell powered vehicles running on made-in-the-USA next-generation fuel.
Unlike combustion engines, which convert chemical energy into mechanical energy
burning, fuel cells convert chemical energy directly into electrical energy,
is converted to mechanical energy via electric motors.
Fuel cell vehicles
are not a pipe dream: Auto companies
have already stepped up to
the plate, designed, and road tested a variety of models. Mass produced, a
fuel cell power system would cost about the same as
today's internal combustion engine.
Fuel cells can be powered by hydrogen, either in its pure form or else packaged
as ethanol or methanol. A
vehicle using methanol as a hydrogen carrier fuel,
can be built with either a hydrogen fuel cell
coupled with a reformer (either at the fueling station or on-board the
vehicle,) which converts methanol to
hydrogen during usage, or with a direct methanol fuel
The biggest advantage of using methanol as the hydrogen carrying fuel of choice
automotive industry is that
a liquid with physical characteristics very similar to gasoline, can be
distributed using the existing distribution infrastructure, existing gasoline
stations and pumps,
and on top of this can be stored on board a vehicle in a fuel tank similar to
existing gas tanks.
This means that from the fueling logistics standpoint, transition
could be almost immediate. While building a pure
hydrogen fueling station costs about $1 million, fitting an existing gas
to supply hydrogen in a methanol formulation costs about $60,000.
There are about 200,000 gasoline stations
in the U.S, so this is a significant cost advantage. To
put the numbers in perspective,
keep in mind that $1.4 billion is spent each year to upgrade the retail
and that the U.S. refining industry spent more than $12 billion to
retool for reformulated gasoline. It would cost $2.7
billion to add methanol pumps to one-quarter of the corner service stations in
While pure hydrogen in a laboratory setting may be more efficient than
methanol, practically, using
pure hydrogen as an
automotive fuel entails multiple
technological difficulties that to date have not been satisfactorily
resolved. Packaging hydrogen as methanol resolves these issues.
Methanol itself is quite cheap as compared to gasoline: today the retail price
of methanol at the
pump varies from 84 cents to $1.10 per gallon.
Methanol is much less flammable than gasoline, one of the reasons that
since the 1960s methanol has been the
fuel of choice for the Indy 500. Each year there are more than 180,000 vehicle
fires in the U.S.
in which the first substance to ignite is gasoline. The
EPA projects that a switch to methanol could reduce this number to 18,000,
saving the lives of
720 people, preventing 3,900 serious injuries, and saving hundreds of millions
of dollars in property
The biggest potential source of
methanol in the U.S. is coal.
It should be noted that
methanol use would greatly reduce
emissions of pollutants and potential for environmental damage
in the case of spills or accidents.
Methanol fueled Indy 500 race car.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
Sources of methanol