About the blog: What Things Are Made Of


The United States relies on imports for dozens of commodities in everyday use. Often enough, that reliance is 100%. In this book I aim to provide awareness of the hidden geology and mineralogy behind common things, and to develop an appreciation for the global resource distribution that underpins our society. While concerns about oil import reliance are in the news every day, our needs for other minerals are comparable and are typically unknown even to technologically aware Americans.

Monday, January 25, 2010


A 462,000-gallon oil spill such as the one near Port Arthur, Texas, in January 2010 is not a good thing. But it gives a good opportunity for some perspective.

462,000 gallons amounts to not quite one minute’s worth of oil consumption for the United States. As of October 2009, we used up (forever) 546,204 gallons every minute of every day (EIA data), and that's with US consumption down by 2 million barrels a day or so from 2007, thanks to the recession.

In terms of world oil consumption, this spill represents just over 11 seconds in the planet’s oil-guzzling day.


oceansmiles said...

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Richard Gibson said...