Sustainable - Sustainability: Energy, Environment, Economy

Oil And Petroleum Products

(Turn out the lights… the fossil fuel party’s over.)

All of us depend upon oil. Almost everything we do involves oil. I am typing this message and you are reading it using products and energy that derive substantially from oil.

Here are some numbers:
world consumption in 2001: 77 million barrels per day out of this, 5 million barrels per day were consumed by OPEC countries. So, about 72 million barrels per day were exported to the rest of us profligate consumers.

In 2005, the number had risen to 80.29 million bbl/day

What do we pay for it: an average price in 2001 was about $20 per barrel: so 72 million barrels is $1.4 billion. Per day.
Half a trillion dollars per year.
About as big as US defense budget.
And a lot of that budget is spent safeguarding oil sources.
By comparison, US GDP is 10 trillion, world GDP is $40 trillion.

We spend more that 1% of the world GDP on oil. (Add in natural gas, we are well over 2%.)

But that does not take into account the other costs, one of which might be all the carbon dioxide released when we burn a great deal of the 72 million barrels.

And these numbers do not tell the whole story, for the world economy is predicated on cheap oil. As in, Wal-Mart could not afford to stock 70% Chinese goods, unless petroleum products were cheap enough for them to ship goods across the globe. In 2007, the price spiked to over $140 / barrel.

Which leads me to my next point: what do we use all that oil for?

Two thirds of oil goes toward transportation. Natural gas consumption is about 2/3 of oil again, and almost all of that goes into heat and electricity production.

The environmental cost of fossil fuel usage is unmeasurable. Oil is one of the largest contributing factors to human induced climate change. Low level ozone and greenhouse gases are major factors in global warming.

So, more efficient transport, heating and electric might be one way to look. Solar, wind and nuclear may also be solutions to both the economic and environmental costs of gas and oil.

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