Monday, July 27, 2009

15 Reasons to Smile When Gas Prices Go Up (and up, and up)

It won't happen right away, according to Christopher Steiner, author of $20 Per Gallon--

which, have I mentioned, you can win?

--in fact, things will get a lot worse for most of us before they get better. But when the prices at the pump continue to skyrocket (and Steiner makes a strong case for the fact that they will), Steiner's book maintains that we can look forward to a future with:

1. Less traffic, especially at rush hour
2. Less smog and pollution.
3. A fitter, healthier population
4. Kids living close enough to walk or bike to school again
5. The demise of big box stores like Wal-Mart, and therefore
6. The return of the small-town Main Street
7. More telecommuting
8. Improved inner city transportation systems
9. High speed trains connecting major cities
10. Greater demand for and availability of locally grown and made food
11. Fewer products made in China and shipped overseas, and therefore,
12. More products made locally
13. Further innovation in alternative vehicles
14. The survival of species such as Bluefin tuna, which are currently being overfished to extinction
15. Increasingly greener energy sources

As he follows the rise of oil prices from the current $3-4 per gallon of gasoline, up through $6, $8, and so on up to $20 per gallon, Steiner gives the history of our dependence on petroleum in different arenas, and the effects rising costs will have on our day-to-day lives. To keep things lively, he also brings readers into the heart of America as he visits an airplane graveyard, makes deliveries throughout Manhattan in an electric UPS truck ("all in all, it amounts to a powerful golf cart with a ton of cargo space,"), and goes carp fishing with a professional fisherman.

Steiner acts like he can see the future. Yes, he backs up every assertion with facts and figures, but some of his predictions may turn out differently than he expects, and I'm sure there are other visions of the future. Still, this book adds a fascinating perspective to North America's current lifestyle. In the scheme of things, our dependence on petroleum products is a tiny blip on the radar of humankind--a blip that we're destined to leave behind at some point. We might as well suck it up and prepare ourselves for change.

The Soundtrack: Tower of Power's Only So Much Oil in the Ground.

Would you like a copy of this book? Be my (and Hachette Book Group's) guest! The giveaway will be open until Saturday, August 1, when I'll draw two winners.


  1. This is so interesting. I have seen this book on different blogs but had not stopped to really catch what it was about.

    I will check out the giveaway. :)

  2. Oooh, interesting spin on things.

    There's an award for you over at my blog :0)

  3. In that case...I can't wait for higher gas prices!

  4. I never really stopped to think about this before, but it does make a lot of sense.

  5. CNN video interview with the author:

  6. Ah, thanks, Rich. Great video, well worth checking out for those intrigued by my highlights of the book.

  7. Hey Ali - Twitter is being a pain in the butt - somehow I managed to block you instead of accepting your request to follow. Not sure how to unblock but I think I will start by trying to follow you again? who knows..

    jenbookgeek on twitter....

  8. Please include me in your giveaway.