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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be read by everyone interested in the future, April 18, 2011
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This review is from: A Cubic Mile of Oil: Realities and Options for Averting the Looming Global Energy Crisis (Hardcover)
I have been aware of the issue of "peak oil" for at least 5 years. Several years ago, I was a member of a group of faculty (as part of a program for incoming doctoral students in a resource management program) that read the "End of Oil". Oil is a limited resource and will increase in price as production (especially cheap production) declines and demand continues to increase. So I have been looking for a good, non-ideological guide to what alternatives exist for both conservation and the development of other energy resources. A Cubic Mile of Oil is in my opinion a balanced and accurate approach to facing the reality of the future energy shortage.

Some questions that we in the U.S. must face include what will happen when (maybe if) gasoline costs $10 or $12 dollars a gallon (my prediction not the authors) or when the production of electricity does not equal the demand? I think that the bump in petrol prices in 2008 impacted the U.S. economy. My opinion is that gasoline increasing to close to $4 a gallon was the straw that broke the back of the limping camel that was the U.S. economy and tipped the U.S. into the housing/debt crisis.

A "Cubic Mile of Oil" does not give any easy answers to our dilemma, but it does point out that a lot of people are engaged in magical thinking. Specifically the idea that solar and wind power can quickly solve our energy problems. If I build another house, I certainly plan to install solar panels but unless the cost drops and the efficiency improves, I doubt that I will live to regroup my investment. I will also install a geothermal heat pump. More efficient cars (see the X-prize which was awarded last year); changes in diet to include less red meat; increased use of coal (clean or dirty) to produce electricity; mass transportation; and reduction of suburban sprawl are all part of a partial solution. But unless someone invents a magic box or there are drastic improvements in the production of photovoltaic cells leading to a reduction in costs, and a corresponding improvement in storage (batteries?) then the U.S. and the world are not going to be able to meet the near term energy needs with just green solutions.

I have not finished reading this short book but I can unequivocally state that I think it should be required reading for every college student in the U.S. I think anyone who thinks about the world and its future should read this book. Cheap energy has built the world we live in and the supply is running out. It may be 2020 or 2030 before we hit the limits but our current policies and practices cannot continue indefinitely.
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Location: East of Texas

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