Although it wasn’t supposed to be possible, Chicago Tribune reporter Paul Salopek managed to trace the gallons of gas he purchased from a local gas station back to its varied origins. He ended up traveling to the Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria, Irag and Venezuela. Along the way we meet gas station managers in Illinois making the minimum wage, crazy Marxist oil workers in Venezuela, frightened oil security guards in Iraq, and oil geologists desperately trying to discover new sources of black gold. As Salopnek writes, his journey around the world “is, in effect, a journey into the heart of America’s vast and troubled oil dependency. And what it exposes is a globe-spanning energy network that today is so fragile, so beholden to hostile powers and so clearly unsustainable, that our car-centered lifestyle seems more at risk than ever.”
This is a fantastic piece of reporting.