Stefan Hayden

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BP Oil Leak Vs USA Daily Oil Consumption

The current numbers for the amount of oil leaking in the gulf before June 3rd have just been updated to up to 40,000 barrels a day. That’s a large number but I really think it’s hard to put in to perspective.

A good way to put that in context is to compare it to the amount of oil the USA uses a day. The US Energy Information Administration says the USA in 2009 used 18,686,000 barrels of oil a day (chart).

(18,686,000 / 24) / 60 = 12,976 barrels a minute

40,000 leaking barrels a day / 12,976 = 3.08 or 3 minutes and 4.8 seconds

So while that’s a lot of oil, it’s only a small fraction of the oil we use a day. Even over the whole 47 days between April 20th and June 6th only 2 hours and 25 minutes of oil were spilled.

I’m not saying that it’s not a catastrophic disaster but every day we pollute by several magnitudes more and it’s good to keep these things in perspective.

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