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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 2, 2006 / 4 Iyar, 5766

Put some sugar in your tank

By Niall Ferguson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The British call it petrol. Americans prefer gasoline. But whatever you call it, prices at the pump are soaring. Last week, gas topped $3 a gallon in parts of the U.S. That's nothing. Driving down England's M40 on Friday, I passed stations selling regular unleaded for the equivalent of $6.62 a gallon. If they offered fuel at U.S. prices, there would be a queue from Heathrow to Birmingham.


It's no great mystery why the British pay more than double what Americans pay. For years, Britain has levied much higher taxes on fossil fuels than the United States. So if British motorists want to blame someone for the high cost of motoring, they know where to start.


Of course, it's not the government's fault that the underlying price of petrol has risen steeply since Tony Blair came into office. Crude oil futures in recent weeks hit more than $75 a barrel. That's six times the price producers were asking in December 1998.


So who's to blame for higher oil prices? Lord Browne, chief executive of British Petroleum, points the finger at hedge funds. Leading Democrats blame President Bush for being too "cozy" with the oil industry. Those who argued that the Bush administration invaded Iraq to make oil cheap now argue that it was in fact, er, to make oil dear.


This blame game is a farce. The price of fuel is high because global demand has risen about 40% in the last 20 years. In the last five years, the G-7 countries have accounted for just 15% of the growth in global demand; China has accounted for twice that. Soaring demand is coinciding with stagnant supply. Global refining capacity has scarcely grown, and it took a big knock from last year's hurricanes. Meanwhile, political instability in some principal oil-producing countries — Iraq, Nigeria and Venezuela — has made commodity traders and intelligent investors legitimately pessimistic about future supply. And let's not forget the possibility of U.S. airstrikes against Iran.


Could we be about to relive the 1970s, which was the last time oil prices were this high relative to other consumer prices? The good news is that, thanks to increased efficiency and reduced industry, the G-7 economies are much less dependent on oil than they were in the days of bell-bottoms. Some analysts even argue that high oil prices are good, on the principle that they send a signal to producers and consumers that it is time to seek new sources of energy.


Nonsense. The trouble is that high oil prices are not a big enough inducement to reduce fossil-fuel consumption. On the contrary, they are as much a signal for oil companies to exploit hitherto nonviable deposits of hydrocarbons, such as Canada's tar sands.


So what is to be done? Is there a better way to propel ourselves around than sucking oil out of the ground, refining it and setting it alight in internal combustion engines? The answer is yes.


I've often agreed with Homer Simpson that alcohol is the solution (as well as the cause) of most of life's problems. In this case, the answer is the form of alcohol known as ethanol, which is derived from plants, such as sugar cane.


Unnoticed in the Northern Hemisphere, one country is pioneering a transportation revolution by switching to ethanol: Brazil. Today, ethanol accounts for 40% of all automobile fuel in Brazil; 80% of new Brazilian cars are flexible-fuel cars that can run on either petrol or ethanol.


What's preventing the Northern Hemisphere from following Brazil's lead? The answer is not so much Big Oil — though U.S. oil companies have fought tooth and nail against the introduction of ethanol, even as a fuel additive — as Small Agriculture. To protect northern farmers, huge tariffs are imposed on imports of Brazilian-produced ethanol by the U.S. and the European Union.


Yet not even a world of perfect free trade would convert humanity to more prudent forms of propulsion. More tax incentives also are needed to encourage people to buy flexible-fuel cars.


And if you want to know how to pay for those tax breaks, just ask the British. British-style taxation of gasoline won't stop Americans from driving Hummers. But it could help finance a transition to the car of the future: "green" Hummers that run on booze.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


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Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University. He is the author of "Empire" (Basic Books, 2003) and "Colossus" (Penguin, 2004). Comment by clicking here.

04/25/06:Hu and the dog that didn't bark
04/18/06: Should Americans be less optimistic?
04/11/06: Globalization's second death?
04/04/06: So many ‘special’ friends
03/28/06: Let's get it right about what has gone wrong
03/21/06: Congress is trying to give the world a globotomy
03/14/06: Lame ducks can still bite back
03/07/06: A 19th Century critique of a 21st Century president
02/28/06: The crash of civilizations
02/21/06: Not the president, but close
02/14/06: Want historic trouble? Look south
02/07/06: Greenspan advising Britain? It's housing bubbles, deficits and potential meltdowns all over again
01/31/06: Missing the Cold War
01/24/06: It's a sick, Thick World
01/17/06: Tomorrow's world war today
01/03/06: Scotland, it's over, but keep the accents
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
11/22/05: Ghost of Napoleon haunts Tony Blair
11/22/05: Can it happen in Britain too?
11/15/05: Red plus blue equals purple
11/10/05: The fires of disintegration
11/01/05: Triumph of an über-wonk

© 2006, Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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