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  1. #1
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    Things You Didn't Know, Episode 1: Petroleum

    Series Introduction: I'm constantly amazed by "what we don't know." I don't mean as humankind, I mean as everyday people. I think about stuff like this on my way to and from work, every day, and have decided to share with the Bullshido community. I have a few topics picked out, but gasoline usage has been on my mind, recently.

    Please forgive (and correct) any math errors. Some of these numbers get quite large or quite small, and are difficult to deal with. I intend to refrain from the usage of exponential notation in this series.

    Without further ado, Episode 1: Petroleum.

    1) Let's say you got a brand-spanking new truck, like I did earlier in the year. Let's say you average 16 miles per gallon, city/suburb driving. A "pipeline," holding that much gas would be 1 mile long, and just over 1 millimeter in circumference. 1 millimeter is about the width of a thick sheet of cardstock, or possibly your fingernail. (source: any cylinder volume calculator, and your vehicle's EPA rating)

    2) The amount of stored energy (calories) in a single gallon of gasoline is roughly equivalent to 2 weeks of human caloric food consumption. Also, "food," calories are really kilocalories, in sciency terms. So, you eat say 2,000 "food," calories a day; that's 2,000,000 sciency calories. So, a gallon of gas is roughly 28,000,000 sciency calories.

    3) There's this nifty thing called Colonial Pipeline. It's a pair of pipes running 5,500 miles from Houston, TX, to Linden, NJ. The pipes are 40 inches (gasoline) and 36 inches (a mix of diesel, kerosene, etc.). If the gasoline pipe is full, that equates to about 1,900,000,000,000 gallons. If the "other," pipeline is full, that equates to about 1,500,000,000,000 gallons.

    4) Current domestic gasoline usage (USA) is about 385,000,000 gallons per day - roughly 1.2 gallons per capita. At that rate, assuming Colonial Pipeline is full, and only the gasoline pipe, we have about 14 years of gasoline already refined and in transit to distributors. EIA.gov is a little ambiguous on this point, I don't really know if consumption is just gasoline, or all petroleum distillates: https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=23&t=10

    5) Diesel is currently less expensive, in many US locales, and on average contains about 30% more energy by volume than the gasoline we use in our "regular unleaded," vehicles.

  2. #2
    BKR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by submessenger View Post
    Series Introduction: I'm constantly amazed by "what we don't know." I don't mean as humankind, I mean as everyday people. I think about stuff like this on my way to and from work, every day, and have decided to share with the Bullshido community. I have a few topics picked out, but gasoline usage has been on my mind, recently.

    Please forgive (and correct) any math errors. Some of these numbers get quite large or quite small, and are difficult to deal with. I intend to refrain from the usage of exponential notation in this series.

    Without further ado, Episode 1: Petroleum.

    1) Let's say you got a brand-spanking new truck, like I did earlier in the year. Let's say you average 16 miles per gallon, city/suburb driving. A "pipeline," holding that much gas would be 1 mile long, and just over 1 millimeter in circumference. 1 millimeter is about the width of a thick sheet of cardstock, or possibly your fingernail. (source: any cylinder volume calculator, and your vehicle's EPA rating)

    2) The amount of stored energy (calories) in a single gallon of gasoline is roughly equivalent to 2 weeks of human caloric food consumption. Also, "food," calories are really kilocalories, in sciency terms. So, you eat say 2,000 kilocalories a day; that's 2,000,000 sciency calories. So, a gallon of gas is roughly 28,000,000 sciency calories.

    3) There's this nifty thing called Colonial Pipeline. It's a pair of pipes running 5,500 miles from Houston, TX, to Linden, NJ. The pipes are 40 inches (gasoline) and 36 inches (a mix of diesel, kerosene, etc.). If the gasoline pipe is full, that equates to about 1,900,000,000,000 gallons. If the "other," pipeline is full, that equates to about 1,500,000,000,000 gallons.

    4) Current domestic gasoline usage (USA) is about 385,000,000 gallons per day - roughly 1.2 gallons per capita. At that rate, assuming Colonial Pipeline is full, and only the gasoline pipe, we have about 14 years of gasoline already refined and in transit to distributors. EIA.gov is a little ambiguous on this point, I don't really know if consumption is just gasoline, or all petroleum distillates: https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=23&t=10

    5) Diesel is currently less expensive, in many US locales, and on average contains about 30% more energy by volume than the gasoline we use in our "regular unleaded," vehicles.
    For sure there is no shortage of oil of various types or natural gas in the world.

    Helium, though...
    Falling for Judo since 1980

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    BackFistMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKR View Post
    For sure there is no shortage of oil of various types or natural gas in the world.

    Helium, though...
    All kinds of medical and scientific and industrial uses. Not a **** ton of it here on earth. It kinda just leaks out. Very hard to recapture or recycle. The moon supposedly has crap tons of it tho. It seriously might be the first real push at industrializing the solar system. Helium from the moon.

    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is an excellent book. The first A.I. awakes in the middle of this **** starts trying to figure out funny.

    I wonder about the human race some times.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghost55 View Post
    Violence is pretty uncommon in clubs in this area, and the dude didn't seem particularly hostile up until the moment he slapped me.
    “I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by WFMurphyPhD View Post
    Slamming the man in the bottom position from time to time keeps everybody on their toes and discourages butt scooting stupidity.

  4. #4
    goodlun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKR View Post
    For sure there is no shortage of oil of various types or natural gas in the world.

    Helium, though...
    As well as renewable ways of making oil. Such as algae & bacteria.
    Of the single rapier fight between valiant men, having both skill, he that is the best wrestler, or if neither of them can wrestle, the strongest man most commonly kills the other, or leaves him at his mercy.
    –George Silver, Paradoxes of Defence

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    Quote Originally Posted by goodlun View Post
    As well as renewable ways of making oil. Such as algae & bacteria.
    Not sure those are commercial yet, considering the supplies we already have in the ground.

    What we need is a way to sequester CO2, or convert it to something useful in the volumes it would be produced and/or taken out of the atmosphere.

    It's like nuclear waste, though, in it's own way.
    Falling for Judo since 1980

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    "The best part of getting you worked up is your backpack full of irony and lies." -It Is Fake

    "Banning BKR is like kicking a Quokka. It's foolishness of the first order." - Raycetpfl

  6. #6
    ChenPengFi's Avatar
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    #4 sounds like it's only gas, and not fuel oil etc.
    We go through nearly a million *barrels* a week in crude, as I recall.

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    ChenPengFi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKR View Post
    Not sure those are commercial yet, considering the supplies we already have in the ground.

    What we need is a way to sequester CO2, or convert it to something useful in the volumes it would be produced and/or taken out of the atmosphere.

    It's like nuclear waste, though, in it's own way.
    Plants love the stuff...

  8. #8
    goodlun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKR View Post
    Not sure those are commercial yet,
    Not yet, but they are the real answer, you can make the same fuels out of them and use most of the same infrastructure. Cost just needs to come down, which will happen. Given the 2 billion cars on the planet we cannot move away from gas.

    Quote Originally Posted by BKR View Post
    considering the supplies we already have in the ground.
    That is the problem that is still the most economical way of doing things.

    Quote Originally Posted by BKR View Post
    What we need is a way to sequester CO2, or convert it to something useful in the volumes it would be produced and/or taken out of the atmosphere.
    That is the way bio-fuels work.
    Of the single rapier fight between valiant men, having both skill, he that is the best wrestler, or if neither of them can wrestle, the strongest man most commonly kills the other, or leaves him at his mercy.
    –George Silver, Paradoxes of Defence

  9. #9
    BKR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChenPengFi View Post
    Plants love the stuff...
    For sure. But let's keep deforesting all those third world countries for fun and profit...
    Falling for Judo since 1980

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    "The best part of getting you worked up is your backpack full of irony and lies." -It Is Fake

    "Banning BKR is like kicking a Quokka. It's foolishness of the first order." - Raycetpfl

  10. #10
    BKR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodlun View Post
    Not yet, but they are the real answer, you can make the same fuels out of them and use most of the same infrastructure. Cost just needs to come down, which will happen. Given the 2 billion cars on the planet we cannot move away from gas.



    That is the problem that is still the most economical way of doing things.


    That is the way bio-fuels work.
    They would have to essentially carbon tax or outlaw or severely restrict, one way or another, using "dirty" hydrocarbons for fuel. And get the rest of the world to agree to do so.

    There are just too many of them left in the ground.
    Falling for Judo since 1980

    "You are wrong. Why? Because you move like a pregnant yak and talk like a spazzing 'I train UFC' noob." -DCS

    "The best part of getting you worked up is your backpack full of irony and lies." -It Is Fake

    "Banning BKR is like kicking a Quokka. It's foolishness of the first order." - Raycetpfl

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