SOURCE: Martin Fridson

July 28, 2006 14:00 ET

Can the Government Really Solve Our Gasoline Crisis?

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 28, 2006 --Gasoline prices that continue to skyrocket have consumers shaking their fists and politicians struggling to placate them. It seems that everyone wants to break our dependence on foreign oil, but no one can seem to agree on what we ought to do about it. One fuel alternative that we keep hearing a lot about is ethanol. Ethanol has been touted as the answer to everything from our fuel crisis to our environmental crisis. What will it take for us to implement ethanol as a legitimate and readily-available fuel alternative?

"If ethanol truly fills a need more effectively or more cheaply than other products previously available, then ethanol is bound to succeed in the marketplace on its merits," says Martin Fridson, author of "Unwarranted Intrusions: The Case Against Government Intervention in the Marketplace" (John Wiley & Sons, 2006).

Despite advocates everywhere who believe that we should feed corn to our cars, Fridson warns against calls for government intervention into our growing energy crisis. "Although using ethanol as a fuel has hidden benefits, it also has hidden costs," he says. "In response to incessant calls for increased ethanol subsidies, the Department of Energy estimated in 1986 that each dollar of resulting extra farm income would cost consumers and taxpayers roughly four dollars."

According to Fridson, Government intrusions in the economy are masked by noble purposes, but in reality they unjustly benefit the advantaged at the expense of the disadvantaged, while reducing overall prosperity. "Soaking the poor and the middle class to make the wealthy wealthier hardly fits the definition of public purpose warranting government intrusion," he says.

Above all of the individual issues, one message comes through clearly: Politicians are masters of "false advertising," who misrepresent themselves to their constituents. Fridson demonstrates how government subsidies and regulations benefit the powerful at the expense of the disadvantaged.

Fridson's mission is to open our minds to an overhaul of our current dysfunctional system. By doing so, perhaps we can turn around the rampant misallocation of our hard-earned money and resources.

For a review copy of "Unwarranted Intrusions: The Case Against Government Intervention in the Marketplace" or to set up an interview with Martin Fridson, please contact Anja Barger at 727-443-7115, ext. 207 or at

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