Addicted to Oil

It has long been acknowledged that in America the car is king. However, America’s car-orientated and car-dependent lifestyle goes beyond the culture of fast cars and freeways. In “Addicted to Oil”, Ian Rutledge explores the political, economic and social ramifications of the motorisation of the US economy. He argues that America’s dependence on the car has created a lifestyle leading to oil needs which have heavily influenced US foreign policy in the modern era. Rutledge traces the origins of America’s addiction throughout the twentieth century and explains how America’s relations with the Middle East were developed through its quest for energy security. America’s motorisation and its consequent demand for oil at predictable market prices was and continues to be an important influence on US policy towards Iraq – especially given the uncertainties relating to what has so far been the securest source of Middle East oil – Saudi Arabia.

Ian Rutledge argues that the war in Iraq was neither a war for ‘freedom’ or ‘democracy’ nor was it a plot to ‘steal Iraq’s oil’, but rather an attempt to establish a pliant and dependable oil protectorate in the Middle East which would underwrite the soaring demand from America’s hyper-motorised consumers. “Addicted to Oil” is the first book to undertake an in-depth analysis of the motorisation of US society which explicitly links it to America’s foreign policy adventures, past and present. “Addicted to Oil” is essential reading for an understanding of America’s international political priorities and its fraught relations with the Middle East.



‘Addicted to Oil provides a sweeping account of the forces, policies, and personalities that drive America’s unending pursuit of foreign petroleum. Ian Rutledge has done a superb job of recounting the evolution of U.S. oil dominance in the Persian Gulf and the events leading up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Highly recommended for those seeking a keener understanding of the geopolitical underpinnings of American foreign policy.’

Michael Klare, Professor of Peace and World Security Studies, Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts, and the author of Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum

‘Essential reading for anyone interested in the emerging pattern of global conflict. Rutledge illuminates the role of energy security in US policy and shows that US intervention in Iraq was needed… ‘about oil’. A valuable guidebook to causes of the resource wars of the future.’

Professor John Gray, London School of Economics

‘Rigorous and insightful… Rutledge paints a vivid picture of the development of the intense love affairs of the US economy with its drug of choice.’

Dr Juan Carlos Boue, Journal of Energy Literature, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

‘Very provocative analysis…One cannot ignore the force of Ian Rutledge’s arguments. His book is a must-read for an understanding of America’s international priorities and its troubled relations with the Middle East… A telling account of what literally ‘drives’ America and its foreign policy’

Asian Voice

‘A Clearly written and organised study … solidly supported by careful research.’

International Affairs

‘Essential reading for an understanding of America’s international political priorities and its fraught relations with the Middle East.’

Fuel Oil News

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