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.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The oil leak

Current (late May 2010) estimates of the rate of leakage in the Gulf of Mexico well are 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day. Pretty bad, and significantly worse than early estimates.

With total U.S. oil consumption at 19,714,000 barrels a day (May 21, 2010), the leak at 15,000 barrels per day would take 1,314 days (more than 3½ years) to equal one single day of U.S. oil consumption.

The point is not to belittle the disaster—it's an awful thing—but rather to point out the gargantuan scale of U.S. oil consumption.


Opal said...

We (Americans especially) need to realize that we ALL share responsibility for this disaster. "All" meaning: all of us fossil fuel users. There is still little awareness among people about how oil has shaped our modern lives. I still don't see any significant development of policies to reduce oil consumption. Without political will and leadership and public education about the facts, people will probably try to keep doing what they've been doing until they can't do it any more, finally creating an economic and social disaster.

Richard Gibson said...

Yes indeed. If reducing consumption significantly is not part of the equation, nothing can happen. Thanks for your comment!

EcoRover said...

Big complex problem, gonna take a big complex (and slow) solution. But just like AA teaches, it's all about "one day (and one step) at a time."

And while we "all" share some distributed responsibility for this mess, don't kid yourself, Opal: it's BP's fault and there was a lot of negligence, faulty technology, and hubris that helped directly cause it.