Fahreed Zakaria on how oil prices underlie foreign instability.
But America remains the 800-pound gorilla of petroleum demand. In 2004 China consumed 6.5 million barrels of oil per day. The United States consumed 20.4 million barrels, and demand is rising. That is because of strong growth, but also because American cars — which guzzle the bulk of oil imports — are much less efficient than they used to be. This is the only area of the U.S. economy in which we have become less energy-efficient than we were 20 years ago, and we are the only industrialized country to have slid backward in this way. There’s one reason: SUVs. They made up 5 percent of the American fleet in 1990. They make up almost 54 percent today.
Link to a great-sounding book about oil and power available on–you guessed it–PDF.