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US must end dependency on oil before crisis gets worse

The gas station guy in my town is exhausted from climbing the ladder every day in order to change the price sign. Of course, it's up, up and away. High gas prices, I predict, will become the biggest issue in the presidential campaign.

This week, Republican senators blocked a Democrat-sponsored bill that would have imposed a 'windfall profits' tax on the five major oil companies. Since these companies made about $36 billion in profits in the first quarter alone, 'windfall' may be understating it.

The GOP says the bill would not have lowered gas prices as any tax punishment would be passed along to gasoline consumers. But let me break this to the Republicans gently: Folks are angry with the oil companies. Unless you guys can help bring some relief to beleaguered American working people, the Democrats will wipe you out.

Of course, both parties are at fault. Every president in the past 50 years has whiffed on alternative energy. While Brazil emphasized flex-fueled vehicles operating largely on sugar-based ethanol, our presidents and congresspeople took junkets to the Middle East to hug Saudi Arabian oil sheiks. And now, as The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is fond of saying, the chickens have come home to roost.

The gangsters that run OPEC understand that technological advances will diminish oil demand down the road. So, they are accumulating as much cash as possible right now. It costs Saudi Arabia about $2 to market each barrel of oil. Last week, those huggable Saudis charged the world $138 for that barrel.

The oil apologists say it's a 'supply and demand' thing. Sure. Here's a bulletin: When you limit the supply, as OPEC is doing, the demand will skyrocket. Yeah, China and India are using more oil. Yeah, the U.S. dollar is weak. But in most competitive businesses, if your customers want more product, you put out more product. Not in oil. OPEC keeps production down to maximize profits.

So, enough. The oil scam is hammering the U.S. economy, and, if Iran keeps causing trouble, gas prices might double from here. Israel stated this week that it will take military action against Iran if it continues developing nukes. Since I believe the crazy mullahs actually want that to happen because it would inflame worldwide jihad, this is obviously a crisis situation.

Congress must mandate by law that American car and truck manufacturers begin to produce a high percentage of flex-fuel vehicles. Once that law is passed, gas stations will begin installing alcohol-based fuel pumps. Congress must also drop import tariffs on alcohol-based fuel so countries like Brazil can sell them to us.

We simply have got to get away from the oil cartel. It's a national security issue.

What say you, John McCain and Barack Obama?

Veteran TV news anchor and author Bill O'Reilly is a host on Fox News. His "Radio Factor" can be heard from 1 to 3 p.m. weekdays on NewsTalk 1300 WIMO-AM.