<\body> Stories in America: Oil on the Brain

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Oil on the Brain

The price of gas is expected to reach $4/gallon soon. You've probably received emails asking you to ban Chevron next Friday. That really won't do anything, but if you want to make your own silent statement besides driving less, buy gas from the independents.

How much do you know about the gas you pump into your car? What about the countries that produce it? How would you explain your relationship with oil and the world that is shaped around this black liquid? What exactly is oil?

To get answer to these questions, journalist Lisa Margonelli decided to trace the oil chain from a San Francisco gas station near her home to a refinery south of Los Angeles, and then to a drilling rig in East Texas. She also traveled to Venezuela, Chad, Iran, Nigeria, and China.

Throughout her journey, she met a diverse group of people connected to oil, including gas station owners, refinery workers, and tanker truck drivers.

By the time she finished interviewing these fascinating characters, she had traveled 100,000 miles over three years, burning 3,000 gallons of fuel in the process.

She compiled her findings in a new book called: “Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline.” I interviewed Margonellia on Your Call last month.

The small gas station owners are hurting big time. They actually make most of their profits from ice, sunglasses, and candy.

Personally, I'd rather not buy gas from Nigeria, but It's almost impossible to know where gas comes from.

Here's a sad story about what's to come for gas station owners (they're easy to blame, but making ends meet is becoming close to impossible):

Check out this article from today's San Francisco Chronicle:
Dealer prices gas over $4 in protest
He says tactics used by Shell are unfair to operators

A few facts from "Oil on the Brain:"

Over the next hour, America's 194 million drivers will consume 36,000 gallons of gas.

Margonelli writes: “We use 1,143 gallons of gasoline per household per year. We make 16 billion stops at gas stations yearly, taking final delivery on 140 billion gallons of gasoline that has traveled around the world in tanker ships, pipelines and shiny silver trucks. And then we peel out, get on with our lives and get back on the highway.”


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