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Review: Pump Documentary Takes on U.S. Oil Addiction

An ambitious, not-that-boring documentary takes on America’s oil addiction

Illustration by Jing Wei

Pump, which sounds like a workout video or some other form of private entertainment, begins with a bit of newsreelish history and a couple of surprising contentions. First, that Henry Ford initially designed his engines to run on ethanol. Second, that John D. Rockefeller funded the push for Prohibition in the early 20th century not to keep people from being overserved at bars, but to keep alcohol out of cars.