Book Review – Turning Oil Into Salt

Joanna Schroeder

51M7xxHIPpL._SL500_AA240_What do salt and oil have in common? In its time, the world was overdependent on the strategic commodity (oil today and salt more than 100 years ago).  Our country (nor the world) is “salt dependent” but the world is oil dependent, but not in the way that most people define oil dependence. “That is what energy independence means: that it no longer matters who holds the reserves, that oil becomes much less relevant to global affairs, that it becomes just another commodity,” writes Gal Luft and Anne Korin, in “Turning Oil Into Salt Energy Independence Through Fuel Choice.”

The authors, who co-founded Set America Free Coalition and are also co-directors of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), continue,”Contrary to popular conception, energy independence does not mean autarky – it doesn’t mean walling ourselves off from the global market. Independence means not having to kowtow to the various petrodictators that sit on the bulk of the world’s oil reserves. Independence requires that oil become just not that important any more.”

The meat of the book delves into what energy independence looks like and the strategies that are currently in place, which the authors note are not effective and write that, “America’s energy policy still suffers from institutional paralysis.” They discuss terrorism at length but make a point that most authors fail to make, “Energy independence will not stop terrorism and will probably not prevent rogue regimes from obsessively pursuing nuclear weapons.” (The reason the U.S. is supposedly in a war with Iraq.)

The authors offer other suggestions, such as Plug-In Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) that are flex-fuel compatible as a transition to an all electric grid (but account for the negatives using coal), and any potential “addiction” our country may face due to the need for rare metals, not found in the U.S., used in the production of the batteries.

Turning Oil Into Salt is not a deep-dive into the issues but merely an overview so if you’re looking for something comprehensive, than this is not the book for you. However, for those who just want a quick look into the issues and solutions without getting bogged down by details, than this book is a winner.

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