Would be curious to know what Ron thought of releasing some of these patents to help reduce our demand on foreign oil.

I just saw the documentary, "Gashole". Interesting stuff... At the beginning of the film they talk about some patents that have been suppressed that would DRAMATICALLY increase fuel economy. One was a water-injected carburetor...the premise is simple...most of the energy wasted from an engine goes into heat...adding a little steam to the fuel injector apparently increases gas mileage by quite a bit because it cools the engine down. Another patent completely vaporizes the fuel before getting injected...this is very important because the most important component of combustibility is the surface area of the fuel. The more the better...this is why dust in barns can cause explosions. By completely vaporizing the gas, the surface area is increased dramatically which helps combustion and fuel economy.

Then the film talked about an interesting book that came out of Shell's R&D department called, "Fuel Economy of the Gasoline Engine". In the book it states:
Between pages 221 and 223 Shell writes of their achievements: 49.73 MPG around 1939; 149.95 MPG with a 1947 Studebaker in 1949; 244.35 MPG with a 1959 Fiat 600 in 1968; 376.59 MPG with a 1959 Opel in 1973.
Unfortunately the book is super rare and the only Library of Congress version is mysteriously missing. Lot's of shady stuff going on that we're not hearing about (documentary talks about a suspect 'suicide' and thugs intimidating some of these inventors).

Documentary talked about other things as well...like biodiesel (much better than ethanol), hydrogen/fuel-cell, electric cars and peak oil...fun stuff. Also talked about the history of standard oil. Interesting thing is Standard really got a lot of power from government granted patents and control of railroads created by government eminent domain...so in many ways it was not (and is not) a natural industry free-market industry.

I actually think the very best thing that can happen to the US...is high gas prices. Only then will the market adapt and find new solutions and we won't be dependent on these oil companies and oil producing nations. But it will be tough..if government prevents innovation because it has awarded exclusive use of alternative energy solutions to companies that have no wish to use them.

Know Paul is a big Rothbard fan and Rothbard was famously against patents...wonder if Paul is at least against patent squatting...especially in very important issues like energy...