The last time John Hofmeister saw Phil and Cheryl Near, they were on the same side, selling oil and gasoline to the public. Alternative fuels were part of the equation, but they were just getting started.
Fuel Freedom has something new this Fourth of July to help Americans declare their independence from oil and its monopoly on the U.S. transportation fuels market.
This week we launched Fuels 101, a set of tools you can use to learn about alternative fuels. The pages include:
- Check Your Car. An interactive feature that allows you to determine whether your car, truck or SUV is a flex-fuel vehicle, and thus can run on any combination of gasoline and ethanol, up to E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline).
- Fuel Types. A guide to the different transportation fuels, including ethanol and methanol. All facts, no myths.
- Find a Fueling Station. We’re using the Alternative Fuels Data Center’s cool interactive map, which helps you find not only E85 stations, but CNG and others.
Consider Fuels 101 an introductory course in all the alternatives to fuel. Although they come from different sources (ethanol, for instance, can be made from a variety of starchy plants, not just corn) and are made in different ways, their commonality is that they burn cleaner than petroleum-based fuels, reducing toxic pollutants that befoul our air and water. Domestically produced fuels also create American jobs and strengthen our national security.
Give Fuels 101 a spin. Don’t worry, none of it will be on the final.
Fuels 101 is the kickstart to what we’re calling Fuel Freedom Month. Our goal is to raise awareness coast to coast about ways we can all help create a genuinely competitive fuels market for the first time in America.
To learn more about how you can help, visit our Take Action page. And while you’ve got some down time between barbecues and fireworks displays this weekend, watch our all-American documentary film, PUMP the Movie, starring Jason Bateman.
You can also get regular updates on social media by following Fuel Freedom’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. PUMP has cool content as well (it has an independent streak of its own), so check it out on Facebook and Twitter as well.
Happy Independence Day, America!
PUMP could have taken Friday off, or ditched class early and headed straight for the beer garden. But there’s still work to do.
The documentary is heading to campus for a pair of Friday-night screenings: at the University of Houston and at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. On Monday the film will be shown at UC Irvine.
PUMP actually was released in theaters last fall, to great reviews and audience response, but it’s getting a second wind: On Friday it hits the big screen at Kingsway Movies in Toronto. And of course, there’s Netflix and DVD if you want to watch PUMP in the privacy of your home with the beverage of your choice (Check out Marc Rauch’s recipe for an America Libre made with corn whiskey).
Here are the details on the upcoming university screenings. And yes, this will be on the final:
Humboldt: 5 p.m. PDT Friday, Downstairs at the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology, 1 Harpst St., Arcata. Host: PowerSave and CCAT.
U. of Houston: 5:30 p.m. CDT Friday, Cemo Hall Auditorium, 4800 Calhoun Rd. Host: Energy Department. Q&A with Fuel Freedom board advisor and former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister afterward.
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- PUMP available on Netflix, so stream at your leisure
- 7 stories about our broken fuel economy
PUMP the Movie is now available on Netflix, giving millions of Americans the chance to watch an important film that shows the patch forward to ending our dependence on oil.
The documentary, produced by Fuel Freedom Foundation and narrated by Jason Bateman, was originally released in theaters last September. In fact, it’s still showing on big screens around the country, as the foundation has worked with partners to host screenings on college campuses and for nonprofits.
(For a full schedule of showings, as well as movie reviews and other content, check out PUMPtheMovie.com.)
But Netflix is a whole new level. The video-on-demand service is now available in 36 percent of U.S. homes, compared with 13.5 percent for Amazon Prime and 6.5 percent for Hulu Plus. Thirty-five million people watch movies and TV shows using Netflix’s streaming service, while another 5 million still get DVDs by mail. (We have DVDs for sale too, in an attractive blue case, on our website).
PUMP charts the century-long story of oil and how it built its monopoly on the U.S. transportation-fuel industry. There are interviews with major energy and auto-industry players like John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Company, and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk.
Much of the film is dedicated to solutions to our oil addiction: For example, ethanol, which is cheaper than gasoline and burns cleaner, with fewer toxic emissions, can be made from plenty of “feedstocks” besides corn.
Here’s a clip from the film featuring alcohol-fuels expert David Blume, telling us about the possibilities:
Another voice in that snippet belongs to Marc Rauch, editor of the Auto Channel website, who says: “Ethanol is not just any competitor [to gasoline]. It is the better fuel. It has always been the better fuel.”
The point is choice: American drivers deserve more than just one. To learn how we can achieve it, in the cars, trucks and SUVs we drive today, pick up the remote and watch PUMP.
Glenn Peterson watched PUMP the Movie on iTunes recently. And frankly, it made him angry. Which can be a good thing, if you take that anger and turn it into something constructive.
The part of the film that motivated Glenn to do his small part to end our oil addiction was when Jason Bateman, in that soothing voice of his, mentions that you can look on the Internet to find fueling stations that sell ethanol blends. As it happened, Glenn already owned a flex-fuel vehicle, a 2011 Chrysler Town & Country. Like 17 million other FFVs on the road in the U.S., it was made to run on E85.
Glenn went on E85Prices.com and found a Propel Fuels station about 10 miles from his home in San Diego that sells E85 (a blend that’s actually between 51 percent and 83 percent ethanol, the rest traditional gasoline).
“It was $3.06,” Glenn said, noting that regular 87-octane gas, E10, was selling for about 20 percent more. “So I filled up then, and anytime I thought of it afterwards, I would go there. It’s a little out of the way, but not that far out of the way.
“If a bunch of people do a bunch of small things, it’s like one big thing. And unfortunately … I talk to people at where I work about E85, and it’s just amazing, the misconceptions. I work with a lot of really smart computer people … it’s like they’ve got that part of their mind closed. And I don’t get it.”
Glenn, 54, bought the van in 2012, and a few months later he drove his family to his hometown of Minot, N.D., on vacation. He already knew about FFVs and E85, but even though he was on the lookout for stations that sold the fuel, he couldn’t find any. On the trip back, they pulled off I-80 in Rock Springs, Wyo., and spotted an E85 sign at a Kum & Go station.
“My wife took a picture of me fueling up. I was just so happy I finally found it!” Glenn said.
But his wife drove the van more than he did, and it was just more convenient to fill up at Costco whenever she went shopping there. Then came PUMP, and now the Petersons are an E85 family.
So what got him so angry watching it?
“I was just so mad at [Standard Oil baron John D.] Rockefeller for everything he did, to basically get us into the mess we are now. But I’ll also admit the government and … we basically let that happen to us. So we are as addicted to oil as we can be.
“And oh by the way, I called Costco. I talked the guy who runs their gas program and asked him why they didn’t have E85. He didn’t think there would be a demand. And I’m like, ‘Well, you’re mistaken, sir.”
That reminds us, Glenn: After you’re done watching PUMP and ready to get involved, one of our projects is to convince as many independent fueling retailers (the ones who aren’t obliged to sell a particular oil company’s gasoline) as possible to offer alternative fuels to their customers.
Sign our petition asking them to do just that. And keep sharing your stories about high gas prices and solutions with us! You can also join the conversation on Fuel Freedom’s Facebook page and on Twitter.
Fuel Freedom Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Yossie Hollander appeared on the Newsmax TV program “America’s Forum,” hosted by former Congressman J.D. Hayworth, to discuss fuel choice and what’s needed to achieve it.