“As I have said for many years throughout this land, we’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the future of human civilization. Every bit of that has to change.” -Al Gore

U.S. gas prices are pushing toward $4 a gallon. With the summer driving and flying season right around the corner, this is bad news for travelers. Political unrest in the Middle East is blamed for the rising prices, and in a recent speech President Obama rolled out a blueprint for curbing our dependence on foreign oil. Unfortunately, Obama is not the first president to promise and then fail to reduce energy imports.

The question is how did the U.S. become so dependent on foreign oil in the first place. You can find the answer to this question within the pages of Diminishing Resources: Oil (978-1-59935-117-9)a beautifully illustrated 112-page Morgan Reynolds book. Oil provides the historical background needed to understand how the U.S. got into its current situation, as well as explores how the country might pull itself out of this predicament with renewable energy sources, such as corn ethanol, wind and solar power, and even expanded domestic oil and gas production.

Diminishing Resources: Oil is one of four books in a Morgan Reynolds series that takes a hard look at how we’re managing, or mismanaging, the diminishing resources of oil, water, forests, and soil.

Veteran journalist Timothy Gardner, currently the energy and environment correspondent for the international news service Reuters, is the author of Oil. He writes that “In the summer of 1859, “Colonel” Edwin L. Drake drilled the first successful oil well in the United States.” Before the discovery of petroleum, Gardner explains that oil extracted from whales was used to light homes and businesses. (Read Morgan Reynolds The Great Whaleship Disaster of 1871 (978-1-59935-043-1) to learn more about the worldwide whaling industry and how it fueled the massive machinery of the thriving Industrial Revolution.)

Now, some 150 years later, the U.S. gets roughly half of its daily fuel needs from foreign oil. “And since OPEC countries have most of the world’s remaining oil reserves, the continued reliance on petroleum would likely increase tensions between the Middle East and consumers,” Gardner writes in Oil. He adds that “demand for oil is growing in a new part of the world. Early in the new century Asia became the world’s top region for growth in oil demand. A race is already on for oil from the Middle East and North Africa because China and India, which want to industrialize like the United States has, have little oil of their own.”

“One thing is certain, though,” Gardner concludes, “drillers will look to riskier frontiers—even to the ends of the Earth—for new oil sources.”

So what is our best bet? Stick with oil until it dries up? Build new nuclear plants? Modernize existing ones to prevent the kind of meltdown and radiation exposure Japan recently experienced? Put more money and effort into developing wind and solar power? Biofuels?

All of these options and more are explored in Diminishing Resources: Oil.

By Sharon Doorasamy (Managing Editor) and Adrianne Loggins (Associate Editor)

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Published in: on April 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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