Gal Luft on crude/carbon

Gal Luft, author of Turning Oil Into Salt (which I reviewed at length in November), has a new column in Foreign Policy whose subtitle speaks for itself:
Since the world can't seem to agree on cutting carbon emissions, maybe it's time to try an easier but equally important target: oil.
Why oil, in the wake of the lack of concrete progress at Copenhagen?
This pushback by the developing world begs for a unified, yet politically feasible, agenda that can be embraced by rich and poor countries alike. One area where such an agenda can emerge is oil. Whereas reaching consensus about significant cuts in the use of fossil fuels in power generation seems to be unlikely, focusing on reducing the use of oil, which powers 95 percent of the global transportation sector, is a goal that offers a real chance of global acceptance (with the exception of certain oil-exporting countries, of course).
His proposals center on the Open Fuel Standard with which readers of his book or my review will be familiar. However, he focuses on flex-fuel vehicles and downplays the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) which would be central to the electrification of transport. Perhaps this is because the current cost arguments for PHEVs are much weaker, and he doesn't wish to draw attention to that weakness in his overall thesis. In any case, I assert that my previous conclusion holds:
... despite [the authors'] attitude and the optimism it engenders, in the end they do not illuminate a line of sight to the day that PHEVs will be cost-competitive with normal cars. And without that, their OFS story is basically a biofuels (or other hydrocarbon-to-liquids fuels) story... and is that really that revolutionary?

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