Pump Monkey, July 30, 2009 (view all comments by Pump Monkey)
If this book contains only a half gallon of truth regarding the future of oil prices, it's immaterial. Steiner's portrayal of our modern-day American consumerist lifestyle - and how, in a world of expensive oil, this lifestyle will become unsustainable - is thoroughly enlightening and engaging. This book is well written, well researched, and I look forward to more books from this freshman author!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (3 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Engineer Christopher Steiner argues that the petroleum will become more scarce in the future and that the price of gasoline and oil will similarly increase. He then proceeds to extrapolate how price increases will impact us individually, as a nation, and globally.
The book is organized in a clever manner - each of the ten chapters describes a different scenario based upon the cost of gas. To sum up, here's the list of chapters:
* $ 4 per gallon: The Road to $20 and Civilization Renovation
* $6 per gallon: Society Change and the Dead SUV
* $8 per gallon: The Skies Will Empty
* $10 per gallon: The Car Diminished but Reborn
* $12 per gallon: Urban Revolution and Suburban Decay
* $14 per gallon: The Fate of Small Towns, U.S. Manufacturing Renaissance, and Our Material World
* $ 16 per gallon: The Food Web Deconstructed
* $18 per gallon: Renaissance of the Rails
* $ 20 per gallon: The Future of Energy
Each chapter describes in careful detail the repercussions of drastic increases in the cost of petroleum.
In $20 Per Gallon, Christopher Steiner makes a compelling argument for the careful management of our resources while describing dramatic changes in the near future. The detailed research behind his statements makes the book an interesting and worthwhile read, but it is his extrapolations that make the book stand out.
Personally, while I was aware that petroleum is a limited resource, I enjoyed his analysis. For instance, he presents a coherent picture of how we can expect an increase in demand from different directions. Going beyond the usual list of how petroleum is used in many everyday products and the growing demand from China to meet its evergrowing production requirements, Steiner brings up technological and market innovations like $2,500 Nano by Tata Motors, increased prosperity in India and China, and increased petroleum consumption in the Middle East.
Here are just a few more of the ideas that caught my attention:
* At $8 per gallon, the cost of flying will be prohibitively high and airlines that have been under considerable financial stress will likely go under. The cost of flying will also decrease both domestic and international travel for business and tourism. Even college students may select schools closer to their homes and prefer local universities and colleges - which would have larger repercussions in the field of education.
* At $10 per gallon, Steiner suggests that the production and use of biodegradable plastic will become more attractive. While I had heard about biodegradable plastic, I enjoyed learning about Dr. Oliver Peoples and his company Metabolix which produces biodegradable plastic that is being used to package products with limited shelf life.
* Steiner described the current planning and construction of a new and technologically smart South Korean city of Songdo. 1,500 acres of reclaimed land, will be completely new and is being touted as the most energy and resource efficient city in the world. Water conservation will be critical and graywater will be installed on a citywide basis. Sustainable design will be apparent and has influenced so many different aspects of the construction from the elevators and concrete to the green roofs and solar cells.
* At $14 per gallon, Steiner predicts the decline of big box stores like Walmart. As China's eighth largest trading partner, the cost of shipping and distribution will grow prohibitively high while shoppers will be detered from the cost of driving 5 to 10 miles to the closest big box store.
As the above shows, Steiner has painted scenarios that likely to trigger interesting and important discussions. I believe most of us would benefit from reading $20 Per Gallon.
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (July 15, 2009), 288 pages.
Courtesy of Hatchette Books Group.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
$20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better
0 stars -
Grand Central Publishing -
by Suzanne G.,
Most books about Earth's dwindling natural resources leave me too discouraged to read beyond the jacket blurb. Not this one! Twenty Dollars Per Gallon is a refreshingly positive take on the effect that peak oil will have on civilization. It does lean toward the exuberantly optimistic, but what good is negativity (however realistic) if its hopelessness inspires fatalism instead of action? Instead, Steiner points out what we have to look forward to and discusses how we can start preparing now.
by Suzanne G.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"According to Steiner, senior staff reporter at Forbes magazine, surging fuel prices will transform Americans' daily lives almost beyond recognition. With traditional energy sources disappearing and global demand soaring, the U.S. will confront gas prices rocketing to $6, $8, $14 and beyond — prices that will compel sweeping changes in everything from urban planning to food production. He reveals the consequences of each incremental hike in gas prices: at $8 per gallon, air travel will essentially vanish; at $14 a gallon, Wal-Mart stores will become empty 'ghost boxes'; when gas hits $16 a gallon, sushi will become an extravagance only for the extremely wealthy. While many changes will come at tremendous social and economic cost, Steiner envisions a better future, where human ingenuity will spur greater efficiency and less waste. Although it's unlikely all the author's predictions will come true — he goes so far as to forecast the order in which airlines will go out of business — the surprising snapshots of the future (where rising gas prices might revitalize Detroit) make for vivid and compelling reading. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
There's no question that the rising cost of gasoline is already changing the way people live, but the real question is just how different will their lives really become — and will their everyday existence be affected for better or for worse?
In this timely expose, Forbes writer Steiner examines how the rising cost of gasoline is already changing our social and cultural existence, and that we may be on the brink of a new, exciting, and exhilarating new era.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.