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Lives Per Gallon: The True Cost of Our Oil Addiction First Printing Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0973590517
ISBN-10: 1597261017
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...launches a blistering attack on the practices of the world's oil and automobile industries..."
(Sacramento Bee)

"America's prosperity, our independence and security, our democracy and our ideals, our international leadership and national pride are all dependent on our breaking our lethal oil addiction. Terry Tamminen has turned the spotlight of clarity on the defining issue of our age."
(Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. President, Waterkeeper Alliance)

"We all thought we knew the costs of oil addiction—power to terrorists and tyrants, and global climate change. But Tamminen's book demonstrates that we don't know the half of it. Gasoline is a deadly carcinogen like tobacco. The health, environmental, and climatic impact of our oil dependency, he shows, is catastrophic. And the economic cost of subsidizing the oil industry is bankrupting. But Tamminen does more than point to the problems. He lays out step-by-step solutions to ending our oil addiction. I only wish that all members of Congress would read this book."
(Dick Morris Fox News political analyst and former advisor to President Clinton)

"The book reads like a gangster thriller, while providing detailed and painful truths about how much the oil and auto industries have controlled development (or lack thereof) in the U.S....a definite 'must read' for anyone interested in improving America's future and national security."
(Jonathan Patz Associate Professor of Environmental Studies & Population Health Sciences at Univ. Wisconsin-Madison)

"Tamminen's personal and impassioned overview of the evidence against Big Oil makes a persuasive argument for the urgency of ending our petroleum habit."
(Orion)

About the Author

Terry Tamminen founded the Santa Monica BayKeeper and served as its Executive Director for six years. He also served for five years as Executive Director of the Environment Now Foundation in Santa Monica. He was appointed as the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency in November, 2003 and is currently Special Assistant to the Governor.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; First Printing edition (October 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597261017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0973590517
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,817,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John C. Cronin on October 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If only there were a twelve step program for America's oil addiction. Of course, we'd all drive to meetings in our SUVs. This book is so much more than a chronicle of how the infernal combustion engine and the petroleum industry have made billions riding roughshod over the planet. It's a call to action. If you've ever done an intervention (or wanted to do one) for a friend who was hooked on something and killing himself/herself, then read this book and realize that your friend is the earth and everyone on it. Terry Tamminen's book makes us see that we're all caught in an oil spill.
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Format: Hardcover
Terry Tamminen has put together a monumental expose' of the true cost of our fossil fuel addiction and the U.S auto industry collusion to mislead both consumers and government alike on the health hazards of fossil fuel exhaust- not much different than tobacco smoke and that industry's playing-down the health risks of their products.

The history of oil use is well covered including wars and potential wars over it's control, government subsidies, fossil fuel contribution to global warming and the global crisis we face when the oil reserves run out. After reading about the multiple ways that fossil fuel consumption has polluted air, water and land, one is left with a feeling that the world oil supply will hopefully run out sooner than later.

Tamminen paints a bleak picture of the corruption and pollution of fossil fuel use, but he also gives positive coverage of the emerging clean/green ZEV (zero emission vehicles) technology such as electric, hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell propulsion and electric generating systems coupled with solar, wind, and photovoltaic systems to replace the out-dated fossil fuel systems. Also covered are the many things individuals can do on their own to reduce their personal energy consumption footprint, i.e., use low-watt bulbs, drive a hybrid or electric car and boycott wasteful products- buy green. Collectively, these actions add up and make a huge difference in total energy consumption while sending a strong message to the merchants of toxic products that their products are no longer desired.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great book and an easy read. I've never been a "environmentalist" so I'm not familiar with most of what was in this book, I've only recently started reading this kind of information and coming to believe that we really have to change. From that perspective, I thought what he was telling us about the health dangers of gasoline and oil, the similarities between those dangers and the dangers of tobacco, the similarities between the way big oil and auto respond to these dangers (and deny them) to the same behavior from big toboacco, were all things I'd never really thought of. And while we all probably know at some level the envorommental cost of oil drilling, he gave some pretty stark examples of where the 3rd world is being exploited to give us a few drops more thanks to their lack of regulations.

And the military cost of protecting our oil interests (or the costs of some other country trying to fill their own oil needs in the case of Japan and WWII) are things we all really need to think about in terms of deciding what our priorities are.

He lists some great, feasible options for putting our oil thirst on a diet and what we can do in the short and medium term to reduce oil dependence. But his flaws came in his suggestions that we essentially litigate the snot out of the oil companies much like we're done and are doing to tobacco. sorry. The only people that plan will benefit are the lawyers. And his main conclusion pushing us toward 1 single oil/fuel alternative seems to turn the end into a sales pitch.
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Format: Hardcover
This book reads like a mystery novel but weaves together a compelling mountain of facts that illustrate what President Bush has referred to as America's "addiction to oil." Tamminen's book explores in depth the severity of the consequences of that addiction, from demonstrable public health impacts to dependence on regimes that don't like us. But more importantly, this book identifies a number of solutions to move us away from our dependence on oil. Too many well-written books do a thorough job of outlining the problem, but few authors take the time to discuss solutions. Reasonable people will disagree about what are the best solutions to our addiction, but Tamminen's book offers a menu of tools that can begin the discussion.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, written in late 2006, contains some interesting material on the effects of the use of fossil fuels on everything from our health to the health of the planet. It does, however miss the mark in some areas, which is understandable as the author had no idea the economy would collapse. And, that changes a fair amount of the data in this book, as consumption habits have changed dramatically.

Have you ever noticed how refineries tend to be located in poor neighborhoods where people have little say in what happens in their communities. That is because no one, if they had a choice, would breath the air being spewed from oil refineries. The same can be said about major freeways and highways. They never cut through affluent areas, as people would block the construction of them. As a result, the poorest among us have the most health related problems related to exposure to the byproducts of petroleum distillation and use. And, that costs every taxpayer, as many of these people are either underinsured or uninsured.

Another cost associated with petroleum is the wars we fight to maintain acess to supplies of it, as well as the amount of money we are shipping to countries where there are people that want to eliminate our society. That effect has mitigated due to new production in the US, but we need to start weaning ourselves from the material to continue to be able to supply our own needs.

The book details many other costs, and is an interesting, if a tad academic in nature. It is particularly interesting to read now due to the changes that have occurred since it was written. We can now see the very real costs, versus those that have self mitigated.
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