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The last decade has seen a far-reaching revolution in the oil industry, both in the US and globally. By some measures, America is on pace to become the world's biggest oil producer in the next decade, an outcome that was inconceivable just a few years ago. But does this shift mean that the US will no longer be beholden to foreign autocrats? That prices will go down for consumers? That the global oil supply is less susceptible to shocks?
In Myths of the Oil Boom, Steve A. Yetiv, an award-winning expert on the geopolitics of oil, takes stock of our new era of heightened petroleum production and sets out to demolish both the old myths and misconceptions about oil as well as the new ones that are quickly proliferating. As he explains, increased production in the US will not lead to a reduction in prices, in part because oil is globally traded and OPEC will defend against low prices. America will not intervene less in the Persian Gulf just because it is producing more oil domestically. Saudi Arabia is less willing or able to play global gas pump to the world economy than in the past. Building an electric car industry does not mean that consumers will buy in, but neither is it true that a broad shift toward eco-friendly cars will have very little impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Most importantly, raising the level of domestic production will never solve America's energy and strategic problems, and may even worsen climate change, unless it is accompanied by a serious national and global strategy to decrease oil consumption. These are just some of the myths that Yetiv takes on in this panoramic account. This is not just an exercise in myth-busting, however; it's also a comprehensive overview of the global geopolitics of oil and America's energy future, cross-cutting some of the biggest security and political issues in world affairs.
Accessibly written and sharply argued, Myths of the Oil Boom will reframe our understanding of the most politicized commodity in the world.
Steve A. Yetiv is the Louis I. Jaffe Professor of International Relations at Old Dominion University. In addition to eight books, he has published over 250 editorials in papers including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Christian Science Monitor, and has appeared on CNN, CNBC, C-SPAN and NPR.