Film Review by Kam Williams
Why is the price of gasoline in the Untied States so artificially high? Much of the explanation lies in a corporate conspiracy to deny us access to alternative fuel sources. A few years ago, the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” illustrated how the auto industry had successfully lobbied politicians to discourage its development.
Now, this eye-opening expose’ shows how big oil has conspired to deny Americans fuel choice for the past century. This state of affairs has persisted in the face of a Supreme Court decision which forced John D. Rockefeller to break up the Standard Oil Company by declaring it a monopoly way back in 1911.
What alternative fuels might a car run on? Well, besides electricity, there’s solar power, methanol, ethanol and hydrogen, to name a few. Who knows what other new ideas might have been encouraged if Congress hadn’t discouraged development of competing energy options by granting the gas-guzzling car manufacturers a stranglehold on research and development via tax breaks and other measures.
This wholesale sellout of the American public is the subject of Pump, an eye-opening expose’ co-directed by Joshua and Rebecca Harrell Tickell. It is the husband-and-wife team’s sobering thesis that, “We have to come to grips with the fact that this is the end of the Oil Age.”
What more proof do you need than the sight of the devastation visited upon Detroit, a latter-day ghost town where, “the hope of the average person for a better life has disappeared” in the wake of its being abandoned by the car conglomerates for greener pastures? And the Motor City might just be the tip of the iceberg, if you believe the dire warnings issued intermittently during this powerful documentary by John Hofmeister, the former President of Shell Oil.
Today, as founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy, he indicts an unnecessary addiction to oil as the root cause of everything from political instability and war to climate change and environmental crises. His organization’s aim? A simple one, merely to make fuel choice a viable reality.
Food for thought the next time you cavalierly instruct the gas station attendant to “Fill ‘er up!”
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG for mature themes
Running time: 88 minutes
Distributor: Submarine Deluxe