Help! I’m hooked on oil!

Victim of “Fossil Use Disorder”

Jeffrey Denny
4 min readOct 23, 2023


Jeffrey Denny

Don’t get me wrong: I care deeply about climate destruction and doom.

But I’m addicted to fossil fuel.

I’m Jeff, and I’m a petroholic.

Feels good to finally admit that. Whew! What a load off.

For me, fossil makes the sweet life possible. For instance:

— My Bisphenol A polycarbonate plastic Tupperware for leftovers I’ll toss a month after molding.

— My Vaseline Petroleum Jelly (it’s right in the name! ) for when I’m chafed by the threat of Trump back in the White House.

— My polyester fast fashion that makes me look Instagrammable for less, stretchy jeans that shed 10 pounds in the right mirror, and Lululemon leggings (87% nylon, 13% elastane) I no longer wear to the grocery store due to the customer petition begging me to not.

I wish I knew how to quit you, oil.

There’s no hotline. No Fossil Anonymous, luxury fossil rehab retreats, intervention strategies, or use disorder programs to fight the deadly pandemic of fossil dependency.

But the first step to overcoming an addiction is admitting it, so here goes brave me:

Hooked on ICE

No, not crystal methamphetamine. Or even frozen water to chill my constant hydration and breakfast bourbon.

I mean the most despicable automobile, propelled by an Internal Combustion Engine. The kind fueled by top American oil suppliers Canada [!] and Mexico [!!], followed by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Colombia and the Independent Republic of Texguns.

Most people around the world, especially in the poorest places, depend on ICE cars. Climate-woke Americans are superior to them.

Regrets truly, I’m not a fan of electric cars. Sure, 0-60 in 3 seconds to impress passengers, further enrich the greedy cervical collar industry, and inspire bladder leakage sounds fun. Lower EV maintenance costs sweeten the deal.

But I’m not shelling $60,000 for a Kia EV with a cheapo interior made from repurposed fast fashion. I’m definitely not giving Elon Musk even a Sam Bankman-Fried bitcoin for a Tesla, The Official Car of Wealthy Climate-Woke Urban Liberals.


No, not alcohol, but water from single-use plastic bottles.

You know, the chilled kind you buy at New Jersey Turnpike rest stops while a guy fills your tank. Then you’re relieved to have the bottles to relieve yourself in when stuck on I-95 approaching the George Washington Bridge during a sleet storm.

In those moments, I’d selfishly not be thinking about the ocean where the bottle will end up. I’d be trying not to think about water at all.

But I do select costly woke water. Like Starbucks Ethos Water, invented by a McKinsey consultant, with a social mission of “helping children get clean water.” Or Smartwater, vapor-distilled for purity by the Coca-Cola Company, because I thought it made you smarter. (Guess not.)

To my credit, I refill and reuse single-use plastic bottles (not the pee ones) and enjoy saying so when shamed for drinking from them.

Scared straight

I’m over the old rock-star thrill-seeking, like watching the EV car battery drain while stuck on I-95 approaching the George Washington Bridge during a sleet storm with no charging stations around, even after turning off the heat and freezing unto the Big Sleep.

Besides, I love to drive a real actual car. Not like in a Chuck E. Cheese video game to “win” ocean-filling garbage for carb-hyped children. Not just sit and somewhat steer while I check my phone for more Instagram likes.

I mean, really driving with a clutch and stick shift. Bonus: It puzzles Zillennials like when they see a Blackberry or try to jack my car.

Refusing to submit to a higher power

We all know St. Greta of Stockholm is right. So are her disciples and followers, who, like the Catholic Church, bless us with reminders that every day in every way, we’re all sinners.

But while I’m a pious lib, I’m also a knee-jerk rebel against pious libs. Psychologists call this “self-loathing.”

So I’m emotionally resistant to the Stockholm Syndrome of identifying with performative and preening CO2 captors. Especially those rich enough to bedeck their $3 million, 3,000 sf homes with solar panels, rain barrels, compost heaps, and indigenous rain gardens tended by wonderful wage-earning Hispanic immigrants.

None of which even begins to compensate for their climate destruction from having kids or jetting to speak at climate conferences.

Rejecting help

Addicts often rebuff efforts to “fix” them.

For instance, the helpful progressive voices in my majority wealthy, white, liberal urban enclave in my majority nonwhite city try mightily to morally school everyone how we should all walk, bike, or take public transit instead of driving.

Like they can. Like they saw in Europe, especially in the tourist cities they toured. Which their research, studies and data prove are superior and shame us for not being like Europe.

While otherwise brilliant in every way, they seem blind to how they’re privileged to live in a costly walkable urban community. While wage workers they depend on to tend their homes, buildings, green spaces, and public works, and work in their restaurants and shops, can’t possibly get to work from cheaper distant communities without cars.

Meanwhile, climate-conscious parents drive their kids a few blocks to their $70,000/year private schools that brand as “green,” and are surrounded by easy travel options, in 5,000 lb., 18 mpg Range Rovers.

Sorry to sound snarky. I’m just acting out my fossil guilt.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.



Jeffrey Denny

A Pullet Surprise-winning writer who always appreciates free chicken.