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Oil on the Brain: Petroleum's Long, Strange Trip to Your Tank


Oil on the Brain: Petroleum's Long, Strange Trip to Your Tank Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Oil on the Brain is a smart, surprisingly funny account of the oil industry: the people, economies, and pipelines that bring us petroleum, brilliantly illuminating a world we encounter every day.

Americans buy ten thousand gallons of gasoline a second, without giving it much of a thought. Where does all this gas come from? Lisa Margonelli’s desire to learn took her on a one-hundred thousand mile journey from her local gas station to oil fields half a world away. In search of the truth behind the myths, she wriggled her way into some of the most off-limits places on earth: the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the New York Mercantile Exchange’s crude oil market, oil fields from Venezuela, to Texas, to Chad, and even an Iranian oil platform where the United States fought a forgotten one-day battle.

In a story by turns surreal and alarming, Margonelli meets lonely workers on a Texas drilling rig, an oil analyst who almost gave birth on the NYMEX trading floor, Chadian villagers who are said to wander the oil fields in the guise of lions, a Nigerian warlord who changed the world price of oil with a single cell phone call, and Shanghai bureaucrats who dream of creating a new Detroit.

Deftly piecing together the mammoth economy of oil, Margonelli finds a series of stark warning signs for American drivers.

Book News Annotation:

This is a paperbound edition of a 2007 book. Journalist Margonelli unpacks the global political economy of petroleum by interviewing a diverse range of people around the world involved in and impacted by oil, including gas station owners, commodity traders, managers of the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and refinery and drilling rig workers. In addition to describing the path of gasoline from under the ground to the tank of an automobile, she offers chapters that explore the oil politics of Venezuela, Chad, Iran, Nigeria, and China. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

About the Author

LISA MARGONELLI is currently an Irvine Fellow at the New America Foundation. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, Business 2.0, Discover, and Jane, and was the recipient of a Sundance Institute Fellowship and an excellence in journalism award from the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists. She is based in Oakland, California.

Product Details

Margonelli, Lisa
Broadway Books
Lisa Margonelli
Lisa Margonelli
Industries - Energy Industries
Economic Conditions
General Current Events
Business - General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
February 2008
Grade Level:
8 x 5.15 x 0.7 in 0.55 lb

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Related Subjects

Business » General
History and Social Science » Politics » International Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » Politics of Oil
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
Science and Mathematics » Geology » Petroleum Geology

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Product details 352 pages Broadway Books - English 9780767916974 Reviews:
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