Rep. Tancredo Pushes Energy Independence

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," June 11, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, you know, saving gas isn`t just about the cash. It`s a serious national security issue right now. That`s what my next guest is saying. He is pushing the Fuel Freedom Act. That is a bill that will force U.S. automakers to help America get energy independent.

Here now with me, Republican Congressman, former presidential candidate Tom Tancredo.

What are you up to, Congressman?

REP. TOM TANCREDO (R), COLORADO: Not that much, buddy, just trying to get on your show. Look what I had to do in order to do that, put in a crazy bill like this.

Video: Watch Neil's interview with Tom Tancredo

CAVUTO: Now, this is something that requires carmakers to come up with cars that would run on gas and what else?

TANCREDO: Well, it`s a flex-fuel vehicle that we`re mandating. And, really, we have been thinking about this for over a year. We`ve been kicking it around, because, you know, I don`t like doing mandates, but we are at war.

This is a national security issue. It`s not just a matter of high gas prices. We have to do something that strips oil of its strategic value. And this is one way of doing it.

And what we`re talking about is this. It`s a relatively inexpensive change to the present automobile that it`s about $100 in cost. And for that $100 in cost, you can provide — you can make a vehicle that burns gasoline, methanol, or ethanol.

And so, in doing so, you begin to create demand, which is the problem now. It`s kind of a catch-22. There are not enough gas stations that have alternatives to gasoline available. That`s because there aren`t enough cars on the road that can use it. You have to start this thing somewhere, saying that all cars...


CAVUTO: Well, why should the government — why should the government do that, Congressman? I mean, the markets and the environment will dictate changes.


CAVUTO: Look at all these hybrids and more fuel-efficient cars that are being made now in response to this. Let the market do its thing, right?


TANCREDO: The problem is, as I say, you have to jump-start that somewhere. You have this catch-22 problem, Neil.

The reality is, I don`t like mandating anything, and really — that`s why we did talk about this for a long time in my office. But I have concluded that there is — that this is one of the best ways possible.

You know, we`ve been mandating — I wish we could drill. I want more oil. We could get more oil. We all know that. But, politically, it`s probably going to be impossible to do so. So what are they going to do, keep sending Saudi Arabia $1 billion a day, one country in OPEC $1 billion a day? And, you know...

CAVUTO: So why don`t you do — why don`t you do what some of your Democratic colleagues are saying, just mandate better fuel efficiency standards, make them higher?

TANCREDO: Fuel economy?

CAVUTO: Right.

TANCREDO: Here`s — because this is much better than that, because if you — mandating greater fuel economy means, of course, you have to sacrifice somewhere. And you`ve sacrificed in the safety of the vehicle. You have to keep making lighter and lighter vehicles.

In this case, flex-fuel vehicles, you don`t have to worry about that. You can actually have a vehicle that will run on one of a variety of different kinds of fuels. And then you will have a market.

All of a sudden, demand will be there. We`ll see a supply. We`ve got to break this cycle someplace. And I`m willing to do this in order to accomplish that.

CAVUTO: All right, real quickly, you`re willing now to endorse John McCain, too, for the presidency, right? You`re going to vote for him?

TANCREDO: It`s been nice to talking to you.

CAVUTO: Really? But you are, right?

TANCREDO: I`m probably going to vote for John McCain. That`s as far as I`m going to go.

CAVUTO: That doesn`t sound enthusiastic.

TANCREDO: I mean, there`s a difference between just voting for someone and endorsing someone. And I`m going to vote for him.

CAVUTO: OK. I think there are some angry issues there, aren`t there? But that`s for another show.


TANCREDO: Well, it`s not a personal issue, honestly.


TANCREDO: It is a matter of philosophy.

CAVUTO: I got you.

TANCREDO: It`s just you can`t get — I can`t get too excited about it, other than to say, the alternative is — is certainly worse.

CAVUTO: All right, Congressman, always good having you. Thank you.

TANCREDO: Thank you, Neil.


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