About the book

Oil has been the power of our world for over a hundred years. It fuels economic growth and underpins almost every aspect of our modern lives.

Two attributes, in particular, make oil seem indispensable: its low-cost and its endless utility. Technological advances mean that we believe we can rely on continuing supplies of oil, but new sources come with greater costs (economic and environmental).

We know oil is essential, we get that its price impacts our lives, and yet we rarely talk about it. Why? Because it is a complex subject? Perhaps we are afraid of sounding uninformed? Maybe we don’t want to be associated with the opposing camps who presume to speak on our behalf?

Many people (78%[1] in the UK) wish to move from fossil fuels, but do not know how. The VFUU Price of Oil follows the history of oil to the present day, lays out the decisions we face to ensure ongoing energy and materials security and shows alternatives to oil in use around the world.

We face some important decisions and to understand our choices we need to get to know oil, its history, its contribution to our society and its alternatives. The VFUU Price of Oil, uniquely, gives everyone the opportunity to understand the many roles oil plays in our lives. And how some people have already turned away from it. From the big uses: manufacturing, energy, plastics and transport to the small: food, communications, the home and medicine we see that it is possible to reduce our dependence on oil.

“We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.”[2]

The book combines the best of historical reviews and popular science. It takes the reader through the interactions of humanity and oil; it follows the journey of every oil drop; it describes the importance of oil and, by association, the oil industry. It shows the things that influence the price of oil and how, in turn, it affects our lives.

Because oil is important to us all, The VFUU Price of Oil translates chemical, geological and engineering subjects into English. It is an enjoyable read and offers inspiration to change.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/public-attitudes-tracking-survey-wave-16

[2] Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), engineer, mathematician and architect

“The VFUU Price of Oil charts the story of oil, from the very start, through its transformation of every aspect of our lives, and concludes with a compelling narrative of why we now need to move beyond oil once and for all. I was engaged, entertained and enlightened by this unique approach to the subject.”
Ben Goldsmith | CEO of Menhaden Capital Plc, founder of WHEB Asset Management | http://www.menhaden.com/

“Oil has served us well and stimulated the biggest growth and wealth creation in human history. The VFUU Price of Oil explains the role it has played and why it is time to wean ourselves off our addiction to oil.”
Paul Polman | Chief Executive Officer, Unilever | http://www.unilever.co.uk

“Michelle Spaul provides a broad and very readable introduction to the world of oil. Starting from a perspective of the societal advances that have been enabled by oil she looks at how its price influences nearly all aspects of human activity. She then moves on to look at the costs, on the environment and climate and their ramifications, and concludes that we should all be looking to remove oil from our lives.”
Professor Joanna D. Haigh CBE FRS | Co-Director, Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment |http://www.imperial.ac.uk/grantham/

Where to buy or borrow the book