July 14, 2011 | The Wall Street Journal
How to End America’s Addiction to Oil
By using more electricity, natural gas and biofuels in our transportation fleet, we can quickly reduce our dependence on OPEC.
At the end of March, oil posted its fifth consecutive quarterly price increase: It’s now solidly above $80 per barrel. If it reaches $125 a barrel again, as it did in 2008, then approximately half the wealth in the world—above and below ground—will be controlled by OPEC nations.
Oil dominates transportation: About 95% of transportation fuel in the U.S. is derived from petroleum. And over three-quarters of the world’s reserves of conventional oil are in OPEC nations. But OPEC is pumping less than it did in the 1970s, despite a doubling in global demand, because it’s a cartel maximizing its income. OPEC sets oil’s price at a level that exploits our addiction but is generally not high enough for long enough that we go cold turkey.
Oil profits enhance the ability of dictators and autocrats to dominate their people. This is one reason that eight of the top nine oil exporters (Norway is the exception) are dictatorships or autocratic kingdoms, as are virtually all of the 22 states that depend on oil and gas for at least two-thirds of their exports.
Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth enables it to control around 90% of the world’s Islamic institutions even though it has less than 2% of the world’s Muslims. So the teaching in most Islamic schools is not the tolerant form of Islam associated with the late Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid. These schools teach Saudi Wahhabi doctrine—fundamental hostility to Shiites, Jews, homosexuals and apostates; oppression of women; and the pursuit of a global caliphate, or theocratic dictatorship. This doctrine bears startling resemblance to the substantive teachings of the Taliban and al Qaeda (although of course they and the Wahhabis disagree passionately about who should have power). The effect is that we now are financing both sides in our war with radical Islam.