An appraisal of the America of our times need not wait upon an historian of the
twenty-first century to look back and note the primacy of oil. Oil has resettled our
population , elected our presidents, swayed our foreign policy, and legislated our morality.
Oil has not only fueled our wars- the two World Wars, Korea and Vietnam - but is equally
the sinew of our might in peacetime: it takes oil to be a superpower.
Of the fossils fuels ripped from the earth by modern industrialism, oil from the first was
thought to be a peculiary American form of wealth. America produced the most and, with
the growing use of the internal combustion engine, consumed the most. Once oil and gas
had ousted coal as the principal source of energy, America was on its way to the zenith of