Introduction to Life After Oil

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The last time Americans recognized that oil was a finite resource, we turned off lights, insulated houses, and reordered our transportation system. The results were remarkable: Energy use, especially gasoline, dropped markedly. But then Ronald Reagan barreled into the White House and convinced us there was nothing to worry about. Only now are we realizing, as a report in the British political magazine Prospect makes clear, how wrong he was. Oil supplies are dwindling?and much faster than most business, government, and even environmental leaders recognize. Problems are already appearing in the form of climbing gasoline prices, electricity shortages, and skyrocketing heating bills. But with two Texas oilmen in Washington?s driver?s seat, the government responses may be the wrong ones. Instead of loosening environmental regulations, resuscitating nuclear energy, and drilling in Alaska?s wildlife refuges, we should once again learn to use less energy?starting with transportation. It can be done. Inspiring and practical solutions are all around, from the bikeways of Montreal to the boardrooms of Detroit.

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