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The End of Energy—A book by Professor Michael Graetz

Michael Graetz
The End of Energy
The MIT Press, 2011

Next time you fill up at the pump, consider this: You are paying too little for gas.

“Despite gasoline hovering near $4 a gallon, we’re underpaying for energy,” writes Graetz, Justus S. Hotchkiss Professor Emeritus of Law and Professorial Lecturer in Law. “For example, prices don’t include the costs of keeping oil flowing from the Middle East, health costs of coal, or safety risks. Raise the price and we will get much more energy conservation and more robust competition from alternative forms of energy.”

Since the OPEC oil embargo of 1973, Congress and our presidents have missed, ignored, or bungled energy reform opportunities, says Graetz.

Politicians are unwilling to effect meaningful change on the issue, he says, preferring instead to favor parochial regional interests or campaign donors. Graetz also faults an environmental movement that gives lip service to alternative energy, while protesting wind turbines or solar plants in their own backyards.

There is no “silver bullet” technical solution, says Graetz, who advocates higher taxes on carbon emissions, petroleum products, and gasoline to reflect the true cost of energy, with the money returned to the American people by lowering taxes on wages or jobs. Until America faces the facts about price, the country’s energy incompetence will continue, putting at risk our environment, security, and independence, he says.

Graetz’s book was named to the Huffington Post’s list of the 25 Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2011.