Saturday, February 26, 2011

The electricity in gasoline

I just ran across the latest available data, from 2007, for the electricity consumption by petroleum refineries. The US is, hoorah, #1. Over 49,000,000,000 kWh.

One electric car, roughly speaking, will use about 3000 kWh to go about 12,000 miles.

That means the electricity alone we use to refine petroleum each year could drive over 16,000,000 electric cars 12,000 miles each year.

And that doesn't include the electricity used in oil extraction and pumping.

[Source: Energy Statistics Database | United Nations Statistics Division under "Total Electricity" then "Consumption by petroleum refineries"]


Chad Schwitters said...

Nor does it count electricity used in transporting oil, or running gas stations.

The refineries tend to run 24hrs, so they are consuming electricity at peak hours, too. EVs take the vast majority of their power off-peak.

Chad Again said...

That's also only counting electicity from the grid. The oil companies generate some of their burning oil products.

Pat said...

I see the point you are trying to make, but these numbers alone are not compelling to me.

Reading this as the devil's advocate, I see "The electricity used to make gasoline for 250 million cars could instead power a mere 16 million EVs."

I think by the time you add all the energy used in pumping, refining, transporting, gas stations... as Chad pointed out, you could have a much more complete and compelling story.

Anonymous said...

Oil refineries produce more than just gasoline with that electricity...everything from plastics to Diapers to while I'm 100% for EV's it is a bit simplistic to use this number.

JP said...

It's a far more sophisticated argument than what is typically used by the other side, which ignores the real energy inputs and emissions before the gas ever gets into your tank.

Anonymous said...

Oh but the friendly oil industry commercials I see on TV say that they employ thousands of people to bring us gasoline. Of course they don't say Americans. And now that they can drill many sideways holes from one well we should be happy. And they tell use it would be scary if we didn't have all the things that oil makes for us. Cancer, Asthma, etc . . . :)

Great statistic Marc! I thought so.


Anonymous said...

Thats a great research you did and i am amazed by how much electricity can be derived from gasoline. But my question is, i believe the Oil industry knows all this, why have they never taken a step knowing how much electricity would be derived? And i believe they know. So why has no one ever tried. I think there must be a reason behind it and we would love to hear it.

dGarry39 said...

And what the world needs are very efficient batteries. And maybe a hybrid engines that can get some power from renewable sources like sunlight, air, heat, momentum, etc. A buddy of mine improved the mpg of his truck by getting the right components like that sliding tonneau from 4WheelOnline, removing the railings, tire alignment that all seems contribute to the aerodynamics of his truck.