Tuesday, April 17, 2012

$20 per Gallon: Book fo the Week

                  I’m continuing on my quest to have 75 books read by the end of the year and my newest entry is $20 per gallon: How the inevitable rise in the price of gasoline will change our lives for the better. This book is written by Christopher Steiner and is available through a local library, the Kindle lending library, or for purchase through the Amazon store. I would quote a price but it varies o I don’t want to set any expectation of a certain dollar amount. As I am half way through this book, I can only give an assessment on what I have read, but so far it is a rather informed reading.          
(Picture courtsey of Amazon.com)
                The book goes into, obviously, the rising cost of gasoline. As we all know, that is one of the main financial pains in any household. From the cost to fill your car to heating your home, the cost of fuel in general has spike to highs that most economists swore would recede. If anything, they cost has leveled and we have become numb to paying $3.50+ per gallon at the pump and who knows what on heating homes.    The chapter’s line up as the cost of fuel goes up, how it would affect the middle class and ways we as a society would need to change in order to survive. As with most changes in society, they don’t really come to fruition until society is put into a situation where the change is absolutely needed. All of Mr. Steiner’s observations are based on large amounts of research and a pragmatic way of looking at the future. He doesn’t go into the fear mongering that most books I have read go into. He takes the current data, looks at reasonable increases to the future numbers and gives what could very well be our future under a petroleum based society.
                I have been saying for months now that the oil industry is going to hurt this country with the price increases and price gouging that is happening. Of course, I was more near sighted with just looking at the impact on driving and delivery of consumables like food. This book goes into things I didn’t even consider. Like textile items like carpets and countertops. They are manufactured in places that use oil or gas to make. They are made with compounds that are derivatives of petroleum. The impact on these items will eventually hurt home builders, home owners, and the manufacturing industry in whole.
                I’m not going to preach about how we should all make a stand and fight back. We can’t. It’s just not possible to fight something that has become so ingrained in our lives. Petroleum is a dependency; it’s now become part of our culture. They only way to change something in a culture is to find a substitute for that item. To think we can just cut out an item that contributes to almost 90% of our lifestyle would be preposterous. This is the time when those with the ambition and initiative can bring into society a way to lesson our dependency and become a more balance society.

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