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Press Release: Former Cabinet officials call on Congress to break oil's transportation fuel monopoly

July 20, 2011

As Congress and the Administration work to solve America’s budget crisis, a bipartisan group of 20 former cabinet level officials, retired senators and prominent business leaders are calling on both to address one of the major contributors to our economic vulnerability: oil’s power as a strategic commodity, and its virtual monopoly as the global transportation fuel. The United States Energy Security Council (USESC) is the highest level extra-governmental group ever convened to address any public policy challenge. Members of the group include former Sec. of State George Shultz, former Secs. of Defense Harold Brown and William Perry, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, former Sec. of the Interior Judge William Clark, former Secs. of Navy William Ball and John Lehman, former Sec. of Transportation Mary Peters, former Sec. of Agriculture John Block, former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, former director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey as well as former Senators Bennett Johnston and Gary Hart, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Prof. George Olah, former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray, Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, former president of Shell Oil North America John Hofmeister, former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine, former Kraft Foods CEO Geoffrey Bible and president of Las Vegas Sands Michael Leven.

Over the past four decades, eight presidents have tried – and failed -- to lessen America’s vulnerability owing to its dependence on oil as essentially the only fuel for air, sea and land transportation. They all focused on reducing the level of oil imports when the real problem is oil’s strategic status which stems from its virtual monopoly over transportation fuel.

“The fixation on our imports helps drive conservatives to a drill-baby-drill strategy and liberals to a conserve-baby-conserve one. Both of those measures are sensible; yet neither will break oil’s monopoly in transportation,” said one of the group’s co-founders former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey.

The U.S. spends more than one billion dollars a day on oil imports. The amount of money paid annually is on par with Medicare spending. The Council holds that any attempt to put America’s fiscal house in order without addressing oil’s stronghold over transportation would be incomplete. The Council is focused on reducing the strategic importance of oil through policies that open the vehicle platform to fuel competition. More specifically, the Council believes that new cars sold in the U.S. and throughout the world ought no longer to be captive exclusively to oil but are equipped and warrantied to operate on non-petroleum fuels whether liquid, gaseous or electricity in addition to or instead of petroleum based fuels.

“Oil has become a strategic commodity second to none; a product which if disrupted or sold at an extravagant price will cause the collapse of our economy. Yet today almost all of our cars and trucks can run on nothing but oil. This gives oil an inordinate power over our economy and foreign policy,” said former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane one of the group’s co-founders.

The Council does not aim to pick technological winners, but rather to urge that vehicles allow fuel competition so consumers can choose to purchase fuels which on a cents-per-mile basis cost less than petroleum fuels. In the coming months, the Council will hold high level meetings with policymakers and presidential candidates.

The United States Energy Security Council is a project of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), a Washington based think tank focused on energy security.

For more information about the Council visit www.usesc.org

For more information contact Anne Korin (anne @iags.org) or Gal Luft (luft @iags.org)

For media interviews contact media @iags.org.

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