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“$20 Per Gallon”

Not often is a book written that can explain the intricacies and effects of economics, international relations, and the green movement, and how the three impact the sociology of our country and our world. However, in his recently released book “$20 Per Gallon,” Christopher Steiner does just that, and makes it interesting and funny to boot. In the text, Steiner delicately yet simply explains to his reader how extremely volatile the American lifestyle is, and how daunting it truly is to be faced with the oil shortage that we all know is in our future, and in some cases, already in our present. His hypothesis is that our lives will drastically change—perhaps for the better—with the rising price of gasoline. We will have to live cleaner, conserve more, be more internationally and politically vigilant, etc, and Steiner begins his weaving of this thesis at the point that our gasoline hit $4 per gallon about a year ago.

At $6 per gallon, the SUV will become defunct, Americans may become skinnier and more fit on average, and the environment will flourish. At $8, airlines will struggle and perhaps shut down completely, travel for college and vacation will largely slow, and Las Vegas (and casinos everywhere) will face huge fiscal downturns. When we hit gasoline prices of $10, delivery services (UPS, FedEx, etc.) will focus on clean, renewable energy for transportation, hybrids, electric cars, and vehicular contraptions beyond our wildest dreams will have their advent in the American market, and ecofriendly plastic will be made faster and be distributed more widely than ever seen before. Steiner predicts that mass urban renewal—both socially and architecturally—will take place at $12, along with migrations to cities en masse, which will cause subways to expand. As the gas price rise, so does the level of technological innovation, architectural and urban reconstruction, and thought revolution, and while the prospect of such change is daunting to a reader (especially one who may have driven 10 miles to buy the text and is currently sitting in an air conditioned room drinking bottled water…), the idea that such change will come gradually and for the betterment of all is welcome. Steiner injects his book with comical and relatable stories of people from around the globe who have already begun to feel the positive impacts of the rising price of gas, perhaps to show his average reader that she can feel it too.

Find it at amazon.com. Read it? Comment!

by M. Molendyke

  • Sep 8th, 2009 at 18:06 | #1

    If you want to find out what such a world could be like in your neighborhood and on your Planet, have a look at the EarthNeighborhood.com website for free ecofiction that describes how folks like you and me make it happen.
    There is an option to read the book, The Gods Played Here, on line at this sight. A work of humourous fiction, the book and the three other books in this series describe a transformation that is coming true, one day and one neighborhood at a time. Have fun with it and be kind.

  • Larry Menkes
    Sep 17th, 2009 at 16:21 | #2

    If the techno-cornucopian vision manifests (and it’s already beginning) some of us will be able to continue our profligate life-styles. There are many, however, who will not be able to afford the energy-efficient do-dads. For them, a darker future will emerge in parallel to the $20/gal. vision. Many of the new have-nots will be former members of the US middle-class (one that will shrink significantly in numbers and in girth).

    This book should be read in tandem with Kunstler’s “A World Made by Hand” and Heinberg’s “Powerdown” unless you prefer the Pollyanna option that is already emerging from cultural denial circles and the land of the woo-woos. If you are committed to awakening from our deep cultural trance you will see a new world unfolding that may well become known to the survivors as the greatest global cultural and economic shift in recorded history.

  • Scott Kruse
    Sep 19th, 2009 at 19:03 | #3

    There will be massive interest and effort in walking & bicycle routes, light & high speed rail – all based on renewable, sustainable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, small hydro) with an emphasis on conservation & efficiency. We can no longer substitute oil for knowledge – we must now apply the knowledge, thinking and acting long-term. The Sacramento News & Review published an article in February 2006 – “Sacramento On Empty” describing how life will function effectively. Life will be better, the air cleaner, structures more energy efficient. Nice!

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