Adhemar Altieri, Greg Anderson, Edwin Black
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…the documentary recounts the country’s affair with oil and offers up alternatives to gas guzzling…
Pump, the latest from documentarians Rebecca Harrell Tickell and Joshua Tickell, is their third look at fuel alternatives. This time around the focus is on how America’s choices in how to fuel their cars have been clearly defined for them ever since the days of John Rockefeller’s first steps into the oil game.
Narrated by Jason Bateman, the documentary recounts the country’s affair with oil and offers up alternatives to gas guzzling in the form of methanol, natural gas, and, of course, electric cars. With outright tenacity, Pump sets its teeth into the problem that establishing an alternative source of fuel is hard when the biggest stakeholders are the ones who would rather it didn’t catch on. It’s pointed out several times that the public will happily fill their tanks with alcohol or plug their cars in to charge, as long as they’re given the choice. It’s the American way. And it’s not just members of the public who are convinced, former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva waves the green flag. Which is perhaps unsurprising when you consider the success flexible fuel cars have had in his country.
It’s a sobering moment when Pump lays out how monopolised things are in the oil market. If we’re to be cynical, at times some of the Tickells’ evidence is questionable. At one point they claim that Rockefeller encouraged prohibition to curb investment in alcohol fueled cars. Whilst that example conjures up thoughts of the illuminati keeping watch over us all, it’s hard to deny the feeling that big businesses have more of a say in what we do than we realise. Despite the spotlight firmly focused on the United States, there’s still something here for Australia, another country with a large vehicular heritage, to chew on.