How to Turn Oil into Salt

The idea of turning oil into salt may sound like something that should be done in a science lab but Dr. Gal Luft says it’s something that Congress can do with a simple piece of legislation.

Luft, who is executive director of the Institute for Analysis of Global Security, explained his analogy between oil and salt at the 6th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Des Moines on Tuesday.

“Salt used to be the most strategic commodity of all because it was the only way to cure food,” said Luft. “That changed with the invention of canning and refrigeration. Those two simple technologies essentially stripped salt of its strategic status.”

“Just like salt dominated food preservation, oil today dominates transportation,” he continued. “And just like salt’s strategic status was diminished through those simple inventions, oil’s strategic status can be diminished through the technology of flexible fuel vehicles.”

That’s why Luft strongly advocates the simplest solution to diminishing the stranglehold oil has on the transportation industry, and that is requiring all new vehicles sold in the United States to be capable of running on a variety of fuels. “Whether it is ethanol or methanol or butanol, whatever it is, let’s give people choices,” he said, noting that there is just such a bill pending in Congress called the Open Fuel Standard Act.

Luft and co-author Anne Korin wrote a book about the analogy between salt and oil and the importance of fuel choice, called “Turning Oil into Salt”, which was reviewed here on Domestic Fuel in 2009.

Listen to Luft’s address to the 6th annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit here: Gal Luft address

Listen to a brief interview with Gal Luft here: Gal Luft interview

Photos from 2012 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit

3 thoughts on “How to Turn Oil into Salt

  1. I still prefer an open RENEWABLE fuel standard to one that treats non-renewable fossil fuels equally with renewables. We need to write the next book in the series, “Turning Renewables into Oil.”

  2. Sorry Mr. Luft, but I choose not to jump on the Open Fuel Standard bandwagon.

    As a member of the Detroit area automotive engineering community for over 30 years, I have seen how auto-hating intellectuals and all manner of self-appointed champions of the working class, have burdened the automotive industry with ever more and more safety and fuel economy requirements. Look at the matter of fuel economy and the cost of fuel. Is it not enough already, is it not enough by the mercy of G*d, that automakers were burdened first with 35 MPG, and now 54 miles per gallon corporate average fuel economy requirements? Is it not enough already, that in addition to these draconian fuel economy requirements, automakers are required to meet ever more stringent safety requirements? How may of these burdensome requirements do we need already?

    And now, as if it werent enough that cars be required to meet 50+ MPG fuel economy requirements and ever more stringent safety standards, we have a bunch of aggressive self-appointed champions of the people now wanting to impose the additional burden of requiring methanol, as well as ethanol capability.

    No Mr. Luft, I don’t accept your arguments. The requirements being imposed on the auto industry are too much as it is. If you have a personal issue with that, see your psychiatrist. Don’t ask me to carry your ego baggage.

  3. Mr. Kovnat,

    I bet you long for the days of yesteryear, when seatbelts were a “burdensome requirement”, eh?

    The simple fact is, that in countries where fuel is more expensive and reflects the truer cost of it (in terms of environmental degredation, health risks, economic hardship), the cars there get upwards of 50mpg quite easily. Your arguments are as current as the Dodge Dart of the 70’s. Or Granada. or Monte Carlo. Oh, I could go on and on, but I think you get my drift.

    Get your head out of the oilsands and start innovating and stop complaining. That’s what we all have to do in this country, and your industry is no different. Lead, or get the heck outta the way.