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Oil And The Internal Combustion Engine

1470 words - 6 pages

Oil and The Internal Combustion Engine

Our cars are powered by an obscure fuel source. The answer to this lies many decades or, more accurately, perhaps centuries ago. The inventors and pioneers such as Rudolf Diesel, Felix Wankel and Nikolaus Otto, would have never considered the fuel that they did if they knew the kind of political ramifications that it would have had on the world today. I propose, that due to this fuel source, the internal combustion engine as we know it has been a perpetual source of top-down exploitation ever since Henry Ford mass produced the first model T. At the time of the engine’s development, Gasoline (which is a derivative of oil) was cheap, plentiful and most importantly, a potentially powerful fuel. It provided smooth combustion and the ability to work hard without all of the messy details usually associated with the maintenance of farm animals. That is why the first engines were rated in ‘Horse power’ since it was a direct measure of how much work an engine could perform in relation to its animal counterpart. Jump to the present, we use internal combustion engines in our everyday lives, most notably in our cars but also when we demand electricity which was generated using engines. We depend on the work crews that cut down trees for the wood we use to build our houses. How do they do that? Answer: chainsaws, which use one kind of engine. When someone’s home is on fire, how do the firefighters extinguish the fire? Simple, they use engines that pump water into their hoses so they can put out the blaze. The list of uses that the internal combustion engine has would take up more space than this paper can allow. So, it comes as no surprise that the internal combustion engine has such a tight grip on society in relation to our dependence on it. Now, all of those engines running our daily lives across America and the world for that matter require a fuel source. The demand for this fuel source has allowed large corporations to grow beyond just simple businesses. Everyday people have felt its effects from price gouging to environmental pollution. On the other hand, I would also like to say that, it is due to this dominance that new sites of resistance have developed and it is interesting to see how various oil corporations have tried to squash this resistance.

In America today, we consume the oil that we do, simply because we have a demand for it. It hasn’t been until recently that it has become economically feasible to import oil from overseas. This is due to our reliance on the internal combustion engine, most notably in our automobiles. Oil wells in our own nation have been closed off, since it is too expensive to drill from them anymore. Not only is this cheaper but it also makes up some of the strategic reserve that we maintain in this country since the Arab oil crisis of 1973. Ever since we have been receiving supplies from overseas sources, we have been more and more subject to the whims of those sources...

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