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IER's reasons for supporting the open fuel standards act


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Arguments and info suggesting flexibility in fuels is very important for the US. This has been know for more than a hundred years, but it will only be possible to overcome strong industrial interests if a grass roots effort, which includes your effort, is made.

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IER's reasons for supporting the open fuel standards act

  1. 1. Reasons to Support the Open Fuel Standard ActI urge you to be aware of and support the Open Fuel Standard Act. It is fuel neutral, so theconsumer can decide among all possible fuels. But, it most likely will be a critical legislativetool to enable us to get off oil and use our natural gas in the form of a liquid fuel, methanol.Its most important provision stipulates that Flex Fueled Vehicles must be able to use anymixture of gasoline, ethanol and/or methanol. This is a HUGE leap to get us off gasolinebecause, for the minimal additional cost of this proposed vehicle modification, estimated to bethe order of $100 (GM states that current Flex Fueled vehicles which can use only gasoline orup to 85% ethanol "can cost them up to $70 more", and an additional $30 may be needed), theAct can enable Americans to run on, not only corn ethanol (and cellulosic ethanol when itbecomes commercially viable), but methanol. Methanol is made from natural gas. It can alsobe made completely renewably from our organic wastes.The problem with ethanol is that we are currently using more than one half of our cornproduction to produce only 11% of the fuel we use. We wont ever produce enough ethanol tosatisfy more than 20% of our fuel needs. As you know, Americans have not flocked to ethanolbecause it costs more per mile to drive on it than gasoline (it is more costly on an energybasis).But, methanol from natural gas is cheaper. Unlike ethanol, the production of methanol is notdependent on whether we have a drought; it uses much less water than corn ethanol, and iscompletely independent of oil supply and costs. We have an enormous amount of natural gas.In addition, we have an enormous amount of organic wastes, which can be anaerobicallydigested to biogas and then converted to methanol. We also we have methane producinglandfills, from which methanol can be made. And, methanol can be made locally i.e., wherethe methane gas is, so the distribution system issues that we have with ethanol are reduced.Gasoline and the two alcohols (ethanol and methanol) mix very well together, making thetransition to more alcohol in the mixtures used very easy. Even the military can use it for theirvehicles on its bases in the US, and save the available oil for their ships and planes. (This canprovide immediate remediation of their oil dependence issues.) Henry Ford preferred to runhis cars on alcohol a century ago. The EPA, MIT and Lotus Cars have shown that vehiclesactually can run better on methanol and ethanol for a few dollars ($30 is the estimate) over thecost increment of our current Flex Fueled vehicles.We must not let our natural gas go to China, Japan, etc, just because we can produce muchmore than we currently need for heating and electricity. We can use it here to drive ourvehicles. The Open Fuels Act will result in market forces that will keep our gas here, and stopthe hemorrhaging of US dollars for imported oil. To get off oil as our primary fuel we willhave to use our natural gas (and biogas), either in the form of CNG/LNG or in its most easilyused form, liquid methanol. The 15 years of methanol use in California showed that we coulddo this nationwide.
  2. 2. This is also an American jobs bill. It may be the most important American jobs bill that can beconceived in the 21st century. It will also be the best way for America to gain energy pricestability and security. We can’t become energy sufficient and secure on just our own oil andethanol. This is a great opportunity to do something historically significant about our criticaltransportation energy future. Please vote to give us the freedom to do this.This is too important to ignore.Sincerely,Robert Falco, PhDProfessor of Mechanical EngineeringDirector, Institute for Energy ResourcefulnessP.S. Congressman Shimkus and a number of others in the House, and Senators Cantwell andLugar have sponsored H.R. 1687 and S. 1603, the Open Fuels Standard Act of 2011. This is adiverse coalition of industry, national security and transportation interests.