The Oil Industry Vs. the Electric Car

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According to the article “Petroleum: A Short History,” Steve Ember and Mario Ritter claim the topic of the oil dependency has risen over time. He states the problems and solutions to the oil dependency. The name refers to the Latin term for “rock oil,” which is the remains of dead plants and animals that died long ago. The remains were covered up deep down below the Earth and had lots of pressure exerted for a long time, causing the creation of fossil fuel. One of the first uses of oil was in the ancient Babylonian city in present day Iraq. They used it for buildings and pitch or fuel for lighting. In modern times, we use it to fuel our transportation and everyday products. Ultimately, what Steve Ember and Mario Ritter are trying to convey through their message is we need to change the fuel we use.

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However, as useful as it seems, there are drawbacks to the use of oil. The oil industry has increased over time. In the 1870s John D. Rockefeller had a monopoly over oil and dominated the industry, affecting the United States economically and politically to keep his operations going without interruption. He extended his reach to the trolleys, which were electrically powered rails and transportation different from oil, but he decided to buy out the trolleys and burn them in open field. To illustrate, something of power or ego towards oil. The loss of alternative transportation led to the majority of people having to depend on oil-based transportation and made the oil company more profitable. The political scene came into the picture when the public demanded President Theodore D. Roosevelt to place laws, like the Antitrust Acts to abolish the big companies, especially Standard Oil (Jeffrey).

After the 1880s, America remained dependent on oil America, even after more than 130 years. Currently America is producing 8 million barrels of oil, but we need 18 million oil to support ourselves (Jeffrey). In addition, the interstate highway system is focused on oil-based cars, which have mostly gas stations and lacks installations for alternatives for fuel. Furthermore, in the 1970s, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel, OPEC (The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), which were mostly Arab countries in the fight gave the opportunity to cut the oil supply worldwide, they decided to use their oil as a political weapon to assist in the war (Steve and Ritter). Soon America, in the Persian Gulf started to build military bases exclusively at oil rigs, therefore protecting oil supplies for companies that supply our economy (Jeffrey).

Despite these issues, there are solutions to the oil problems. The first one would be electric cars, or Tesla Models by Elon Musk. His company’s cars cost under $20,000, lower than the average gas-based car, as well as fuel costing $1.00/gallon on average. Not only there is Tesla Model, there are several other cars that rely on electricity called Flex cars, such as Ford Focus, BMW i3, Toyota Mirai sedan. There are 100,000-120,000 electric cars (Jeffery). Although the costs for the battery car is expensive, it has been going down in price. Another solution would be ethanol-based cars (alcohol car). This idea has already been implemented in Brazil, which has been growing sugarcane for ethanol. The alcohol crops can vary in climate and temperature, making it a good crop for different environments from Middle East deserts to Brazil’s jungles. This alcohol-based (biofuel) fuel can be used for Flex cars that can use multiple types of variants of fuel. Additionally, there is another alcohol fuel called methanol, which can be made from coal and natural gases like methane or carbon dioxide. Not only can it be made from these substances, it can be made with trash from the landfills, solving another environmental problem. It is simple and burns safer than gasoline. It only costs ? of what gasoline costs currently.

Finally, the dependency on oil must go and we must change to alternative fuel because our oil suppliers are damaging our environment and causing economic unrest by political and military action on countries with oil.

Works Cited

  1. Ember, Steve, and Mario Ritter. “Petroleum: A Short History, Part 1.” Biography – Elvis Presley, 1935-1977: He Was the King of Rock and Roll (VOA Special English 2007-08-11),
  2. Ritter, Mario, and Steve Ember. “Petroleum: A Short History, Part 2.” Biography – Elvis Presley, 1935-1977: He Was the King of Rock and Roll (VOA Special English 2007-08-11),
  3. Intemann, Libbi. “Meet Google Drive – One Place for All Your Files.” Google Drive, Google,
  4. J, Jeffrey, director. Pump Documentary Full 1080p HD. YouTube, YouTube, 6 July 2018,
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The Oil Industry vs. The Electric Car. (2022, Sep 07). Retrieved December 8, 2022 , from

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