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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Review - $20 Per Gallon by Christopher Steiner

Title: $20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better

Author: Christopher Steiner

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Buy $20 Per Gallon Here!

Rating: You Gotta Read - This is a book that you would tell everyone you know about. It's a book you can't get out of your head even after you close the book or file. There shouldn't be a lot of these.

Reviewed by: Shawn Weisser

Imagine an everyday world in which the price of gasoline (and oil) continues to go up, and up, and up. Think about the immediate impact that would have on our lives.

Of course, everybody already knows how about gasoline has affected our driving habits. People can't wait to junk their gas-guzzling SUVs for a new Prius. But there are more, not-so-obvious changes on the horizon that Chris Steiner tracks brilliantly in this provocative work.

Consider the following societal changes: people who own homes in far-off suburbs will soon realize that there's no longer any market for their houses (reason: nobody wants to live too far away because it's too expensive to commute to work). Telecommuting will begin to expand rapidly. Trains will become the mode of national transportation (as it used to be) as the price of flying becomes prohibitive. Families will begin to migrate southward as the price of heating northern homes in the winter is too pricey. Cheap everyday items that are comprised of plastic will go away because of the rising price to produce them (plastic is derived from oil). And this is just the beginning of a huge and overwhelming domino effect that our way of life will undergo in the years to come.

Steiner, an engineer by training before turning to journalism, sees how this simple but constant rise in oil and gas prices will totally re-structure our lifestyle. But what may be surprising to readers is that all of these changes may not be negative - but actually will usher in some new and very promising aspects of our society.

Steiner will probe how the liberation of technology and innovation, triggered by climbing gas prices, will change our lives. The book may start as an alarmist's exercise.... but don't be misled. The future will be exhilarating.

Christopher Steiner does an impeccable job describing how the cost of gasoline has impacted how we function. He uses the past gas hikes as his basis for analysis and predictions of how we will respond in the future. Not only does he describe how we as individuals behave when gas prices skyrocket but also includes how businesses have behaved in the past and how he believes they will behave in the future. I think all consumers of oil should read this book in order to prepare for the inevitable rise in gas prices and oil shortages. The author covers change with each two dollar increment as he foresees them to be. He covers the good as well as the bad changes in how we view energy to how we use energy. Will we pay twenty dollars per gallon of gas? Possibly, but Steiner wants the reader to know the ever rising cost of oil is not a bad thing. The rising cost will bring about change in what energy production will include. Companies will respond by creating alternatives, consumers will demand alternatives, government will push for alternatives, and eventually they will come about. As we watch prices climb we need to begin now looking for and creating those alternative sources of energy.

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