Oil Disaster By The Numbers

21 Jun

I’ve seen several efforts to describe the enormity of the gulf oil disaster, most recently, the website if it was my home.  The site allows you to localize the tragedy so you’ll understand just how large and wide the disaster has spread.  For instance, importing the map of the BP Oil Leak over Buffalo gives you this result:

I think resources like these are valuable emotional tools which help us understand the enormity of the tragedy, but fall short in identifying the real problem.

As I wrote last week, we all own a share of this tragedy.  Let me break it down by the numbers for you.

According to a June 20th report by The Associated Press, an estimated 126.3 million gallons of oil has gushed into the Gulf.  There are 42 gallons of oil in a barrel, which amounts to 3,007,143 barrels of oil now covering our gulf and shorelines.

According to the United States Department of Energy, the United States consumes 19,498,000 barrels of oil per day, 8,989,000 of which go solely to our vehicles.

So, how much oil has leaked into the Gulf of Mexico?

Roughly 3 and a half hours of daily oil consumption by the United States.

Think about that for a little while…

One Response to “Oil Disaster By The Numbers”

  1. Kevin Purdy June 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    On The Media just tackled the topic of oil amounts and relativism, through the prism of the Exxon Valdez spill, and how the media basically gave up on trying to pin down the amount that actually spilled, once the far sexier “alcohol involved” storyline came up:


    In that spill, there was a tanker, with a certain amount still left on the ship, that would have made a hard number easier. In the Gulf, the facts seem far more slippery (ugh, pun).

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