Every day, people on Earth use about 90 million barrels of petroleum (oil and natural gas) to fuel cars, buses, airplanes, farm equipment, and factories; to heat their homes; and to manufacture detergents, paints, plastics, and countless other products. To get that petroleum, oil and gas companies search all over the planetfrom northernmost Canada to deep under the ocean. Because it is such a valuable commodity, petroleum has become known as black gold. And because of global dependence on this natural resource, scholars say we are living in the Age of Oil.
Alongside its benefits, petroleum has serious drawbacks. It is not a renewable resource, and many of Earth's most easily accessed petroleum deposits have been used up. Companies have begun to search for oil in more difficult-to-reach places, using controversial methods. Extracting, processing, and refining oil is often environmentally destructive. Oil spills and other accidents can contaminate soil and water, kill wildlife, and make people sick. On a larger scale, burning fossil fuels such as petroleum releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, leading to climate change.
Even as governments, activists, and researchers explore a wide range of conservation measures and alternative fuel sources, the world continues to run on petroleum. And the struggle to balance the pros and cons of this coveted resource will play a decisive role in the planet's future.
About the Author
Margaret J. Goldstein was born in Detroit and graduated from the University of Michigan. She is an editor and the author of many books for young readers. She lives in Palm Springs, California.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Black Gold 4
Chapter 2 The Age of Oil 16
Chapter 3 Big Oil 35
Chapter 4 Damages 46
Chapter 5 Pushing Boundaries 60
Chapter 6 Fueling the Future 80
Source Notes 92
Selected Bibliography 97
For Further Information 99
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fuel Under Fire: Petroleum and its Perils gives readers insight into the oil industry, and addresses both the positives and negatives that come from the multi-billion dollar business. Goldstein looks at oil through a relatively objective lens, and takes readers through all aspects of oil: from its discovery, to the first oil magnates, to modern day petroleum corporations, and this gives readers a more in-depth understanding of oil in the big picture. Overall, I would give the book 4 stars. Although not an overly compelling read, this book would be great for any student researching petroleum as it presents seemingly boring information in a more exciting and digestible manner. The book also has a very nice list of references at the back, which makes it the perfect springboard for even more detailed research. In addition, I like that the book tells the stories not necessarily covered by the media. We’ve all heard of the Exxon-Valdez, but did you hear about the massive oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas in 2013? Likely no, and this book shows you much more than is common knowledge. All-in-all, a pretty interesting read. Ryan P., age 17, Mensa 76