The following is a book review that was recently posted on “Good Reads”
Fueling America: An Insider’s Journey by Jack Kerfoot is a thought provoking, sometimes hilarious, exploration into how fossil fuels became America’s drug of choice for fuel. And, how we as a nation have led so many other nations into making the same choice. Set against Kerfoot’s own life and his hunt for oil and gas across the globe, the author weaves together history, economics and the inner workings of the oil and gas industry.
The book is well laid out, logical and easily read while still containing an impressive amount of data, technical information and interesting insights. Kerfoot is descriptive without going overboard. He masterfully weaves personal anecdotes about living overseas with the ins and outs of the oil industry –even including the adventures of the family cat.
From New England whale men, to wildcatters, to the highly technical geophysicists of today, the author demonstrates how the industry has grown and changed based on economics and availability. He concludes each chapter with a consistent set of data about the production and consumption of various fuels by the United States, as well as other nations. This data includes renewable resources (such as wind, biomass, and photovoltaic) and the role of conservation, tax credits and subsidization of some fuels. Trends are easily determined by the lay person. In the end, it is clear cut that the United States, and the rest of the world, will need to change its thinking and its habits regarding fossil fuels despite their current economics. Without regard to a person’s stance on climate change, we are reminded that fossil fuels are not infinite. Although renewables will initially cost more, the advantages of renewability and carbon footprint will soon outweigh that consideration.
I recommend this book as a very enjoyable way to digest a set of complex and technical information about an industry and its inner workings that few have knowledge of and yet all should understand. It is well researched, readable and funny. It is a great read that explores a current and profound issue that is complicated and challenging.