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Is A War on Oil Justified?

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Bone Dry Boneheads

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Marc Rauch
By Marc J. Rauch
Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher

FOX NATION, a subscription-fee offshoot of FOX NEWS, is running a 22-minute documentary called "Bone Dry - The War on American Oil." The show seeks to ascertain why America has stalled on its way to achieving energy independence. I think the show falls flat on its mission because it doesn't address the most important point: We don't need petroleum oil to achieve energy independence! There's a better solution that offers myriad additional benefits.

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Jackie DeAngelis
The show is hosted by Jackie DeAngelis, an extremely attractive, brunette. I mention this attribute because in a sea of blonde women that are usually featured on Fox's shows, I think Ms. DeAngelis stands out.

Among Ms. DeAngelis' professional credentials are having earned a Juris Doctor degree in 2008, and her position as chief energy correspondent for 13 years at rival cable-TV network CNBC. I mention these considerable academic and professional achievements because I think that the comparison of her high qualifications to the abysmal lack of any real intellectual understanding of the energy issues discussed in the show is as stark as the difference between bright blonde hair and dark chestnut hair. By all rights, the show should have some meat. Instead, viewers get a thin, stale cracker.

A war on petroleum oil would be perhaps the most justified war of all human existence, if it were to occur. Petroleum oil and its derivative fuels are responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people, hundreds of millions more suffering from related health issues, the destruction of trillions of dollars in property (actual or inflation-adjusted), and the incalculable carnage done to non-human animals.

Everything that petroleum oil is used for could be substituted with other substances, such as alcohols (ethanol, methanol, etc.). Alcohol can be made by anyone, anywhere, from a wide variety of raw materials: Naturally growing land and ocean plants, cultivated crops, even human and animal waste. This means that no foreign nation (friend or foe) should control the fuel supply needed by another nation. This isn't to say that one nation should not trade with, and work with, immediate or regional neighbors; there are definite cost and efficiency benefits in volume production. It's also not to say that private sector corporate entities should not be involved - they must be involved because business successes are reliant on individual aspirations and achievements. Governmental control of enterprises causes stagnation and worker malaise. This is true in free-market economies and in socialist economies. But the production and use of liquid and gaseous fuels should be as accessible to everyone as the air is to breathe.

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A fair portion of "Bone Dry" discusses the Keystone Pipeline. The Keystone Pipeline is routinely cited as a key element in making America energy independent and keeping the price of petroleum oil fuels low. The problem with this is that the Keystone Pipeline is meant to take oil from Canada...a foreign nation...and deliver it to refineries for exportation to other foreign nations. The Keystone Pipeline as conceived would not benefit Americans. And keep in mind that Canada today is not just a foreign nation, it is a socialist dictatorship, like Cuba and Venezuela. Personally, I like Canadians and the country is very beautiful, but I have no interest in enriching their dictator anymore than I have in enriching the Cuban and Venezuelan despots.

There is no characteristic benefit to the use of petroleum oil. Gasoline and diesel fuel are not superior engine fuels. If a gasoline-powered engine running on gasoline can produce more miles-per-gallon or service hours-per-gallon than when an alcohol fuel is used, it is only because the engine was designed and built to run on the specific characteristics of gasoline. Simple manufacturing alterations and mechanical adjustments can optimize any internal combustion engine to run on an alcohol fuel. An ethanol-optimized engine running on ethanol fuel will provide equal or better results. The engine will give off far less, or no harmful emissions. Furthermore, the production and distribution process of ethanol is immeasurably safer and healthier than the processes used in the production and distribution of petroleum oil. And, as I have repeatedly written about, no American soldier, sailor, marine, or airman has ever died defending the production and distribution of ethanol.

No one in Ms. DeAngelis' show ventures into the realm of using alternative liquid and gaseous fuels. The show leaves viewers with the impression that there is no alternative to the "poisons" of the oil industry ... and in this case I define "poisons" as the physical fuels produced from crude oil, as well as the evil monopolistic controls of the industry by greedy people (both domestic and foreign).

Domestically sourced and produced ethanol fuel is the way to achieve energy independence, lower fuel prices, a stronger national economy, a healthier population, and a cleaner environment. And the same benefits can be had in any nation on Earth that accepts the ethanol solution. Get with it FOX, stop being such boneheads.

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