Senator Barack Obama

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Fueling the Future

“The fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like that sumach out by the road, or from apples, weeds, sawdust -- almost anything. There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There's enough alcohol in one year's yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years.” * * * This prescient vision of an America where homegrown biofuels replace oil as our primary source of energy wasn't uttered by a scientist or an environmentalist. It wasn't offered by some politician or interest group advocate. It was the vision of an automaker. His name was Henry Ford, and the year was 1925. Even then, during the earliest days of the auto industry, there was a widespread belief within the business that the cars we drive could be powered by the food we grow. Ford went so far as to build his first Model T so that it could run on ethanol. As oil soon became the nation's dominant fuel, however, this visionary auto was...