Imagine an everyday world in which the price of gasoline (and oil) continues to go up, and up, and up. Think about the immediate impact that would have on our lives.
Of course, everybody already knows how about gasoline has affected our driving habits. People can't wait to junk their gas-guzzling SUVs for a new Prius. But there are more, not-so-obvious changes on the horizon that Chris Steiner tracks brilliantly in this provocative work.
Consider the following societal changes: people who own homes in far-off suburbs will soon realize that there's no longer any market for their houses (reason: nobody wants to live too far away because it's too expensive to commute to work). Telecommuting will begin to expand rapidly. Trains will become the mode of national transportation (as it used to be) as the price of flying becomes prohibitive. Families will begin to migrate southward as the price of heating northern homes in the winter is too pricey. Cheap everyday items that are made of plastic will go away because of the rising price to produce them (plastic is derived from oil). And this is just the beginning of a huge and overwhelming domino effect that our way of life will undergo in the years to come.
Steiner, an engineer by training before turning to journalism, sees how this simple but constant rise in oil and gas prices will totally re-structure our lifestyle. But what may be surprising to readers is that all of these changes may not be negative - but actually will usher in some new and very promising aspects of our society.
Steiner will probe how the liberation of technology and innovation, triggered by climbing gas prices, will change our lives. The book may start as an alarmist's exercise.... but don't be misled. The future will be exhilarating.
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You lost me at the very beginning where you proclaimed everyone was ditching their gas guzzling SUVs for a Prius. Is it true that even writer's today suffer from dual coast bias and forget that throughout America the SUV and Pick-up are still king for those who haven't gone off-road or don't haul anything? There is no such world that would contain such a situation as $20 a gallon, oil companies and lobbyists wouldn't allow their product to be priced out of the market and the push for alternative vehicles that can even power large cars, pick-ups, and SUVs, are all reasons why this possible future of telework and trains is an impossible future.
Our Future, Like It or Not
Here is the bottom line: oil is a finite resource that will not last forever and the demand for oil is steadily increasing, especially with the booming economies of China and India. Therefore, according to the theory of supply and demand, the cost of oil in the future has nowhere to go but up. To argue with this premise, which is the foundation of Steiner’s book, is to argue against reality.
To the author’s credit, $20 per Gallon is not a preachy gospel for greens. It also is not a book of unsupported predictions made up by the author over one too many beers. Instead, it is a well-researched book that explores the possible and probable outcomes as gasoline’s price makes its irreversible climb upward. While you may not agree with all of Steiner’s predictions, you cannot deny that they all are logical outcomes of high and very high priced gas.
In conclusion, this is a very thought-provoking book that is well written and pleasantly narrated in audio form. It will open your eyes to what our future will probably look like. Of course, looking into the future is often frightening, but I'd rather know what is coming than be surprised when a future of super expensive gasline starts to slap us around.
Just got done reading it. If Christopher Steiner is right about the theroy of peak oil (you could look at markets and prices and tell he is), the world will change radically if a gallon of unleaded cost over ten dollars. Definitely get the book (analog or digital) and recommend to everyone, even if people disagree. It's definitely got people thinking and talking.