National Geographic : 2004 Oct
The End of Cheap Oil I must take serious exception to your chart "The Real Cost of Gasoline." Like many, you have missed the elephant sitting in the front hall-the billions of extra dollars being spent each year for the war in Iraq. ROBERT STANFIELD Pipersville,Pennsylvania It's about time Americans realize how spoiled they have been, being able to buy gasoline so cheaply for so long. As I write this, the price of gas is roughly two dollars per gallon-about half of what much of the rest of the world pays. Maybe this will trigger a real start in the research for more alternatives to fossil fuels, a final weaning from oil, and a sense of community where people carpool and share. ALBY THOUMSIN Springfield,Oregon FOR MORE INFORMATION To get NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC please call 1-800-NGS-UNE (1-800-647-5463). Hearing-impaired TDD users may call 1-800 -548-9797. The magazine's website: nationalgeo graphic.com/magazine For an online index of all National Geographic publications, go to: nationalgeographic.com/publications C;E:OGRAII THaNDO I I greeted your headline "The End of Cheap Oil" with a wry smile. We haven't seen cheap oil in the U.K. for years. With prices approaching one British pound [$1.82] per liter [0.264 gallons], we know that a fair proportion of this is "carbon tax" to discour age carbon dioxide emissions. When will the U.S. swallow the bitter pill and follow suit? ERIC FRANKLIN Bromham, Wiltshire I was very disappointed to see NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC take an overtly political position. Envi ronmental alarmists have prom ised disaster right around the corner for decades-from Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb, who predicted worldwide food riots in the 1980s, to warn ings in the first oil crisis that the world would run out of oil by the year 2000. What these gloom and-doom predictions never consider are the miracles of tech nological innovation and man's almost limitless adaptability. PHIL RICHARDSON Annandale, Virginia The sad reality is that Americans have the research and technolog ical ability to develop an alterna tive fuel and thus end their Forum NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * OCTOBER 2004 June 2004 "The End of CheapOil" elicited the most mail this month-infact it provoked the second largest number of letters we've received on any story thisyear (firstplace goes to March's "The Rebirth of Armenia"). Many readerssaid they were out ragedby a quote on pages 86-7 by the owner of a Hummer in Georgia, who said, "I know it's notfuel efficient, but I love knowing that anything I bump into, I win." NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY "Forthe increase and diffusion of geographicknowledge." The National Geographic Society ischartered in Washington, D.C., aa a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. 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Michael Fay CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS-IN RESIDENCE Sam Abell, AnnieGriffths Belt, David Doubilet, Karen Kasmauski,EmoryKrlstof, FransLanting MISSION PROGRAMS Vick Preident: Barbara A. Chow, EducationFoundation; JohnM.Francis,Research,Conservation, and portion; JacquelineM. Hollister, Development; Sarah Laskin, Public Programs. Exhibit: SusanS. Norton. Epe ition Coanl: Rebecca Martin. geography e: Mary Lee Elden. Lectures: P. Andrewvan Duyn, GregoryA. McGruder School Publhing: ErickaMarkman, Sr. Vice President. International: Robert W. HemAndez, Sr. Vice President. HumanResourcesThomasA.Sabl6,Sr. VicePresident. Communicatons: Betty Hudson, Sr. Vice President. Treasurer H. Gregory Platts, Sr. Vice President NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VENTURES DENNIS R. PATRICK, PresidentandCEO Teevrion: Timothy T. Kelly, President. 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