Travel & Tourism Not Reaching Potential To Create Jobs Due To Oil-Price Volatility
RADNOR, PA - Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today urged Members of the U.S. Senate to support the bipartisan Open Fuels Standard amendment (S.A. 1657) offered by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) to the pending transportation bill. The amendment ensures new cars are manufactured that enable fuel competition from some subset of non-petroleum fuels (including liquid, gaseous or electricity). BTC believes the Open Fuels Standard is the simplest, lowest-cost approach for eradicating the strategic importance of oil and attendant upward price spikes of gasoline and jet fuel that seriously harm our aviation and travel and tourism industries.
There is a widespread consensus on these facts:
- While competition is a bedrock of our American way of life, oil has a monopoly over transportation fuel. Ninety-seven percent of the fuel used to transport people and goods in the U.S. is based on petroleum.
- When the price of a barrel of oil reaches $100, the U.S. sends some $400 billion per year overseas for oil, with too much of that money ending up in the hands of oligarchs, autocrats, dictators and at times terrorists.
- Every one-dollar increase in jet fuel costs the U.S. airline industry some $18 billion dollars on an annualized basis and dampens demand for air travel harming travel and tourism on a broad basis.
- For $100 or less, automakers can build vehicles that break the monopoly of oil, however, relatively few of these "flex fuel" cars that can run on multiple fuels are being made for the domestic U.S. market.
- The U.S. is rich in a variety of energy commodities and other feedstocks that can be converted into fuels that are considerably less expensive than petroleum.
- Empowering Americans to choose among fuels based on the comparative cost per mile will dampen the price of oil. For these reasons it is BTC’s view that our nation must introduce competition into the marketplace for transportation fuels.
The Open Fuels Standard is technology and fuel-neutral; does not require any new tax breaks or subsidies; and enjoys strong support across the entire political spectrum as evidenced by the co-sponsors of a companion bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1687.
Consider natural gas. Unlike oil prices, which are expected to continue to rise significantly, the price of natural gas has been on the decline for many months. Its price is so low that some producers are reconsidering investments in production wells in this job-creating sector.
Among other available and promising options, the Open Fuels Standard would open the door to methanol, a liquid fuel that can run in flexible fuel vehicles. A recent MIT report, The Future of Natural Gas, determined that methanol “is the liquid fuel that is most efficiently and inexpensively produced from natural gas.” Methanol can also be made from coal, biomass or municipal solid waste, and perhaps in the future recycled carbon dioxide, and is significantly less costly than gasoline on an energy equivalent basis.