Tuesday, July 17, 2007

They say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to...

In all the frequent mentioning in the media of oil issues (use, overuse, peak oil, war for oil, price of gas, OPEC, what have you), they are inevitably focused on automobile usage. It's always driving, driving, driving, and the price of gasoline. That's it. As if the whole petroleum industry starts and stops there. Okay, so maybe 1% of media mention heating oil. But the other 99% is all about gasoline.

As you might have already suspected, I think a little differently.

See, when they talk about fuel, I don't think about Joe Mullett's jacked up F250 or the asinine SUV Mr. & Mrs. Suburbia use to drive back and forth from their McMansion to the local warehouse store (driving with a starbuck's froofroo cafe caramel mocha latte half caff whatever in one hand and text messaging on their cell phone in the other). No way, Jose.

I think of all the other stuff. For example, cars a probably a drop in the bucket compared to the bazillions (I don't know exactly how many) of jet airplanes that fly back and forth across the country and across the world, and how much jet fuel goes into those things and gets burned up by the, what, hundreds or thousands of gallons a minute? Does anyone know?

Even more importantly, what about all the stuff that is made from petroleum that we use and toss away every single day? Plastic is a petroleum product, and everything is made from plastic (you may think this is old news, but 70% of Americans don't know plastic is made from oil)! There are even petroleum products in your food. I think more people should be reminded more often that the oil interests who want to control the resources of the middle east are not just interested in fuel and lubricants. If they control petroleum, they control just about every product produced on the planet.

A partial list of products made from petroleum: a partial list of products made from Petroleum (144 of 6000 items):
Ammonia, Anesthetics, Antifreeze, Antihistamines, Antiseptics, Artificial limbs, Artificial Turf, Aspirin, Awnings, Balloons, Ballpoint Pens, Bandages, Basketballs, Bearing Grease, Bicycle Tires, Boats, Cameras, Candles, Car Battery Cases, Car Enamel, Cassettes, Caulking, CD Player, CD's, Clothes, Clothesline, Cold cream, Combs, Cortisone, Crayons, Curtains, Dashboards, Denture Adhesive, Dentures, Deodorant, Detergents, Dice, Diesel, Dishes, Dishwasher, Dresses, Drinking Cups, Dyes, DVD's, Electric Blankets, Electrician's Tape, Enamel, Epoxy, Eyeglasses, Fan Belts, Faucet Washers, Fertilizers, Fishing Rods & gear, Floor Wax, Folding Doors, Food Preservatives, Football Cleats, Football Helmets, Footballs, Footballs, Gasoline, Glycerin, Golf Bags, Golf Balls, Guitar Strings, Hair Coloring, Hair Curlers, Handguns, Hand Lotion, Heart Valves, House Paint, Ice Chests, Ice Cube Trays, Ink, Insect Repellent, Insecticides, Life Jackets, Linings, Linoleum, Lipstick, Luggage, Model Cars, Mops, Motor Oil, Motorcycle Helmet, Movie film, Nail Polish, Nylon Rope, Oil Filters, Paint, Paint Brushes, Paint Rollers, Panty Hose, Parachutes, Percolators, Perfumes, Petroleum Jelly, Pillows, Plastic Wood, Purses, Putty, Refrigerant, Refrigerators, Roller Skates, Roofing, Rubber Cement, Rubbing Alcohol, Safety Glasses, Shag Rugs, Shampoo, Shaving Cream, Shoe Polish, Shoes, Shower Curtains, Skis, Slacks, Soap, Soft Contact lenses, Solvents, Speakers, Sports Car Bodies, Sun Glasses, Surf Boards, Sweaters, Synthetic Rubber, Telephones, Tennis Rackets, Tents, Tires, Toilet Seats, Tool Boxes, Tool Racks, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Transparent Tape, Trash Bags, TV Cabinets, Umbrellas, Upholstery, Vaporizers, Vitamin Capsules, Water Pipes, Wheels, Yarn...
Even $@#^& candy wrappers are made from plastic! Along with just about every piece of product packaging filling the aisles of your local Hell Mart.

And to top it off, you have things like this happening: Boeing Unveils Blockbuster Plane:
"What makes the 787 revolutionary is that it is the first airplane built mostly not of metal, but rather mostly of high tech composite material, a type of reinforced plastic."
Do you see what I mean? They don't just want to control the gas you put in your car. If they control oil, they control everything!

So now you know why, every time I hear someone from either side of the argument proposing to save the day by encouraging the use of biofuels, I feel a little cheated. Honestly, we need to address the big picture here. The fuel thing important, but we really need to address the fact that practically everything else is made from oil, too. And the neocons want to own every drop of it!

P.S. Someone once said that I shouldn't address problems like this without also providing a solution. So... how's this: Henry Ford built an automobile out of soy and hemp!


The Future Was Yesterday said...

You're the first person I've heard discuss this. While cars do eat up a lot of oil, they are not alone. Good post!!

how much jet fuel goes into those things and gets burned up by the, what, hundreds or thousands of gallons a minute? Does anyone know?

He does. Name the airplane, and he'll tell you what it burns. He'll also talk airplanes until your ears fall off....:) He has an email in his profile. tell him I sent ya.

SheaNC said...

Thanks, Future. I really think the huge variety of uses for petroleum products deserves a lot more media attention. I'll check that link :)

nunya said...

Wow, somebody called in this morning on my favorite show
and mentioned : this

soooprise sooprise, we're still screwing the indians

nunya said...

Oh yeah, this is trippy, the contrails actually cool and cause moisture:
Longer Airline Flights Proposed to Combat Global Warming
By Michael Schirber, LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 26 January, 2005 7:00 a.m. ET

Watch 'n Wait said...

A most excellent and mind-blowing post, Shea. I had no idea so MANY things were made from oil. So there is work for all those scientists and inventors out there. Lots of work. Need a substitute for oil right quick. I mean...if Ford could build a car out of hemp and soy...

hariseldon67 said...

"For example, cars a probably a drop in the bucket compared to the bazillions (I don't know exactly how many) of jet airplanes that fly back and forth across the country and across the world, and how much jet fuel goes into those things and gets burned up by the, what, hundreds or thousands of gallons a minute? Does anyone know

Well, let's look at a typical day in America. There are an average of 28,500 commercial airline flights. (NWA, AA, Delta, etc.) If an aircraft is used for a lot of short hops as apposed to one long flight, it's going to use more fuel per hour. So, to keep things simple, and because it's early in the morning and my brain is not up to operating temps yet, I'll just use cruise. Let's take what's a pretty average medium airliner, the Boeing 737-700. The fuel burn for that is 713gal/hr. That sounds like a lot. But, the passenger count for that plane, with two classes, is 126 passengers. The math says that's an average of 5.66gal per hour per passenger. With a cruise speed of 480kts (550mph) that works out to be about 98mpg per passenger. That includes their luggage, plus various types of cargo and mail. Not too bad, actually. Even the thriftiest motorcycle can't beat that. Let's look at it another way. If those passengers drove that 550 miles, two per car, the average amount of gasoline used would be 1155 gallons. I'm assuming two per car, with an average mileage per car of 30mpg. And I'm being VERY generous with that mpg figure.

The 787 is made of carbon fiber and composites, true, but the fuel mileage promises to be the best of any airliner of that class. True fuel burn rates won't be determined until flight tests begin, but Boeing's engineers are predicting savings over a conventional liner of up to 35%. Over the life of the aircraft, that'll be pretty substantial.

You made a great post, and I agree that most people don't have a clue as to where most of their products come from. As your Henry Ford link indicates, they're doing quite a bit of research on producing plastics from other sources, such as hemp and soybeans. The primary reason petroleum is mostly used is simply because it's the easiest. You may remember a series of "public awareness" commercials produced by the image-conscious plastics industry. They usually involved a cute young kid in a dire medical crises whose life, it is inferred, would be tragically cut short without plastic medical equipment. It was an attempt, I think, to head off criticism of their heavy reliance on petroleum.

Another pet peeve of mine is lighting. We use a lot of oil to produce electricity, yet we burn through electricity like a drunkard goes through vodka. A look at the United States at night <<<--(That's a link, folks!) indicates just how much light we emit at night. Look at that photo. You can plainly make out the two coasts with no problem whatsoever. It's ridiculous. Plus, it's know that the average American office uses waaay to much lighting. I could go on. You get the idea.

SheaNC said...

Nunya: Science... magic... not much difference?

Watch 'n wait: Thanks! When I think of all the plastic in the world...

hariseldon67: Thanks for the great info. It's good to know that the jets aren't burning up as much fuel as a layman like me would think. I agree about electrical power. Someday we'll be looking to the winds, and the tides, and whatever comes next, to produce power for our stuff.

Ken Grandlund said...

Great post Shea- and good to drop by again. It's been a long time.

FUnny how little people really know about everyday stuff-especially when its fueling wasr and death.

SheaNC said...

Thanks, Ken :)

Worried American said...

Thank you, SheaNC; you just saved me a lot of research for a post I was considering. Now, when (if) I get around to it, I'll just link to you and readers can check your post.

Another bad thing (oh, so many bad things) about plastics. Offal from their production allegedly pollutes the waterways and adversely affects the gender developement of aquatic creatures. Allegedly feminizes the males and causes other deformities. If that is true, can it eventually affect humans? I'm too old for personal involvement but still woman enough to appreciate a fine figure of a man - hate to see you little dears feminized! Hope all of you have contributed to the sperm banks but what happens to the human race when the frozen wiggletails run out?

SheaNC said...

Worried: Thanks, I'll look for that link :) As for being feminized by plastic, I remember Sci Fi shows portraying worlds where there were shortages of men, or no men at all... they probably passed their age of plastic long before!