Recently when I was researching a project, a colleague pointed me in the direction of Set America Free, an organization dedicated to energy independence. Interestingly, the group has an eclectic list of members who run the political gamut.
Set America Free has done a good job of chronicling the impact of foreign oil, and its co-chair, Gal Luft, has spoken eloquently on the issue in numerous media outlets, such as public radio’s Marketplace and the Miami Herald.
Luft writes, in part:
At current oil prices, this country sends overseas $460 billion per year to finance the daily buying of 12 million barrels of imported oil. This amount of money is about the size of our defense budget and three times the size of the ”economic stimulus” package recently passed by Congress. But the real economic impact of oil dependence is hidden to most Americans. Energy economist Milton Copulos calculated last year that the grand total of all external costs associated with foreign oil dependence — including the cost of oil-related defense expenditures, amortized cost of supply disruptions, and lost economic activity and tax revenues — stands at $825 billion per year.
… and concludes:
To make a car flex-fuel would cost an automaker an extra $100 — the cost of one barrel of oil. If it costs so little, why not make fuel flexibility a standard feature? Just like seat belts, air bags, FM radio and rear view mirrors?
Congressional leaders who promise to end our oil addiction and create competition in the transportation fuel market can do this in one stroke of the pen. It would be nice if the next time the president of Iran and Venezuela threatened to send oil to $200 a barrel, we all pour more alcohol into our tanks and remind them that oil is not the only thing that makes the world go around?
Click here for a more detailed look at the high cost of foreign oil.