<i> From "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power"</i>

1896: Henry Ford builds his first car, providing a new market for gasoline and giving birth to hydrocarbon mobility.

1907: First drive-in gasoline station opens in St. Louis, replacing supplies sold in general stores.

1919: Capt. Dwight D. Eisenhower leads a lumbering cross-country caravan to demonstrate the potential of motor transportation.


1946: Levitt family acquires Long Island acreage for Levittown tract houses, setting the prototype for the heart of the hydrocarbon society, the American suburbs.

1947: Construction of the Los Angeles freeway system begins in earnest, including the key downtown “interchange” uniting individual freeways into one grand system.

1952: The first Holiday Inn opens in Memphis, giving “motels” a new respectability as the hydrocarbon family takes to the road.

1955: McDonald Brothers and milkshake salesman Ray Kroc introduce assembly-line food at a new outlet in suburban Chicago to launch the hydrocarbon fast-food era.

1956: President Eisenhower signs the Interstate Highway Bill, providing 41,000 superhighway miles to crisscross the hydrocarbon nation.

1970: Earth Day environmentalists protesting increased smog and pollution symbolically attack hydrocarbon autos with sledge hammers.

1973: Arab oil embargo introduces the first oil shock with new and troubling scenes of lines at America’s gas pumps.

1979: Political upheaval in Iran translates to the second oil shock and re-emergence of gas lines snaking the blocks of hydrocarbon suburbia.

1990: The second Earth Day launches worldwide rallies endorsing environmental reform and promoting the “green decade.”

1990: Iraq invades oil-rich Kuwait and U.N. multinational forces defend Persian Gulf oil reserves and “our way of life.”

2000: After Hydrocarbon Man: Environmental Person?