Hydrocarbon Man

Hydrocarbon Man - see merit in a program that aiions,...

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Unformatted text preview: see merit in a program that aiions, albeit at the expense *d by the fact that demand >cb their foreign production, tional companies a lesson, sy have had the scale and ai clout, and it was to them ten responded. Sometimes 5. Senator Russell Long of a group of executives from states, he explained, "are dustry, because that is the s revenue to our state gov- wanted the oil executives «that produce oil overseas regard to your tax credit or the special tax treatment ows you are going to rely the same people who are nmarize his message, Long e a very healthy domestic perate to that end." 17 d the lesson. C H A P T E R 2 7 Hydrocarbon Man W H A T EV ER T H E TWISTS A N D TURNS in global politics, whatever the ebb of imperial power and theflowof national pride, one trend in the decades following World War I I progressed in a straight and rapidly ascending line—the con- sumption of oil. If it can be said, in the abstract, that the sun energized the planet, it was oil that now powered its human population, both in its familiar forms as fuel and in the proliferation of new petrochemical products. Oil emerged triumphant, the undisputed King, a monarch garbed in a dazzling array of plastics. He was generous to his loyal subjects, sharing his wealth to, and even beyond, the point of waste. His reign was a time of confidence, of growth, of expansion, of astonishing economic performance. His largesse transformed his kingdom, ushering in a new drive-in civilization. It was the Age of Hydrocarbon Man. The Explosion Total world energy consumption more than tripled between 1949 and 1972. Yet that growth paled beside the rise in oil demand, which in the same years in- creased more than five and a half times over. Everywhere, growth in the demand for oil was strong. Between 1948 and 1972, consumption tripled in the United States, from 5.8 to 16.4 million barrels per day—unprecedented except when measured against what was happening elsewhere. In the same years, demand for oil in Western Europe increased fifteen times over, from 970,000 to 14.1 million barrels per day. In Japan, the change was nothing less than spectacu- lar; consumption increased 137 times over, from 32,000 to 4.4 million barrels per day. • What drove this worldwide surge in oil use? First and foremost was the rapid and intense economic growth and the rising incomes that went with it. By the end of the 1960s, the populations of all the industrial nations were enjoying a standard of living that would have seemed far beyond their reach just twenty years before. People had money to spend, and they spent it buying houses, as well as the electrical appliances to go inside those houses and the central heating systems to warm them and the air conditioning to cool them. Families bought one car and then a second. The number of motor vehicles in the United States increased from 45 million in 1949 to 119 million in 1972. Outside the United States, the increase was even more monumental, from 18.9 million vehicles to States, the increase was even more monumental, from 18....
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This note was uploaded on 12/11/2011 for the course WOH 2040 taught by Professor Klepper during the Fall '11 term at Santa Fe College.

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Hydrocarbon Man - see merit in a program that aiions,...

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