This documentary on netflix streaming explores the United States addiction to Oil. The movie begins with showing how oil made some people very rich. Similar to the recent boom that we have in technology (i am referring to the stock of Google, Amazon, Netflix, etc.), there was a big boom in oil. In the later half of the 18th century John D. Rockefeller took advantage of this oil boom. He founded The Standard Oil Company. He did whatever it took to grow his company. He would create secret ventures with vendors to control the competition. For example, he would work with freight companies to make them charge higher prices on his oil competitors. As Standard Oil grew bigger, they would acquire smaller oil companies. This documentary shows Rockefeller’s large support for prohibition. Ethanol is created using alcohol and Rockefeller saw this as a threat to his oil empire.
Oil puts us at the mercy of other countries. Many of our oil reserves are coming from the mideast. We spend more money protecting our mideast oil interests than the oil itself. The US puts the military out in these oil fields to protect the oil reserves. Recently, to help save money the United States started drilling into oil reserves domestically. We get oil through a process called fracking. In the process we drill deep down into the earth. We use high pressure water to release gas from the rocks. We lose lots of water, increase the potential to release of carcinogens in the ground water, and increase potential for earthquakes.
In China it is very difficult to get a vehicle. There is a lottery and then you have to bid a large sum of money just to register a vehicle. China is trying to curb the amount of cars on the road due to recent air pollution. Oil causes more air pollution than many other types of alternative fuels. Brazil on the other hand, has experienced economic improvement by using biomass fuel. They use corn fields and all other types of unused biomass to fuel their vehicles.
The United States is taking a stand on the matter. President Obama is taking a stand by introducing the Open Fuel Standard Act. By 2017, 95% of the vehicles are expected to run on non-petroleum based fuels. The irony is that many of our cars do currently run on alternative fuels, but most people don’t even know it. For the cars that do not have the option, they can be fixed for under $500. Some vehicles can run on alternative fuels with a simple software update to the automobile’s computer system. You can find out which gas stations provide alternative fuels at the energy website. Overall, a great documentary with great information.