Every so often we find a bit of knowledge that refocuses our perspective on reality; a sobering fact for the repercussions of our daily routines. I have decided to begin to share them here and the first one is how much energy we use not to drill for oil, not transport it and not burn it in cars, but refine it from barrels of crude into gallons of gasoline.
Sobering Fact #1
Gasoline is the centerpiece of our the American petroleum industry, comprising just over 46% of refinery output in the country. In 2008, Americans used a total of 137.8 billion gallons of gasoline, or around 380 million gallons per day, according to the Department of Energy. Gasoline accounts for 62% of all energy used for transportation. Naturally all of this product comes from oil with 18.5 gallons of gas refined from every 42-gallon U.S. barrel of crude, meaning that we need 7.5 billion barrels to satisfy our hunger for gas. Some estimates peg the energy required to refine a single gallon of gasoline at 9,317 BTUs or 2.73 kWh. This would earmark 376 billion kWh of electricity annually to turn oil into gas. Given that the average home uses roughly 12,000 kWh every year and that estimates for the number of households in the United States are as high as 115 million… this energy could power one quarter of all American homes.
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