In the 150 years since the birth of the petroleum industry, oil has saturated our culture, fueling our cars and wars, our economy and policies. But just as thoroughly, culture saturates oil. So what exactly is “oil culture”? This book pursues an answer through petrocapitalism’s history in literature, film, fine art, wartime propaganda, and museum displays. Investigating cultural discourses that have taken shape around oil, the book composes the first sustained attempt to understand how petroleum has suffused the Western imagination. The chapters examine the oil culture nexus, beginning with the whale oil culture it replaced and analyzing literature and films such as Giant, Sundown, Bernardo Bertolucci’s La Via del Petrolio, and Ben Okri’s “What the Tapster Saw”; corporate art, museum installations, and contemporary photography; and apocalyptic visions of environmental disaster and science fiction. By considering oil as both a natural resource and a trope, the chapters show how oil’s dominance is part of culture rather than an economic or physical necessity.