# The awesome power of oil

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### The awesome power of oil

I was thinking about what power is in just one gallon of diesel fuel and how it makes our life so much easier and most of us never think about just what that one little gallon of liquid is capable of doing. This is what I have come up with.

One gallon of diesel in a tractor trailer will take a 50,000 pound load 5 miles in 5 minutes.

To put this in perspective, if we were left with no machines or fuel that would be the same amount of work as a man putting a 100 pound sack (of coal) on his shoulder and walking 2,500 miles! Assuming you were healthy and up to the task, it would take you 30 days of walking at almost 3 ½ miles per hour to accomplish this and that is walking 24 hours per day. Looking at calorie burning calculators, if they are correct, you would burn around 500 to 600 calories per hour for a 200 pound man doing this work. Multiply 500 by 720, the number of hours in a month and I get 360,000 calories! That is about 200 pounds of sugar or 666 Big Macs that you would have to consume to do the work with a human body.

Assume you have the wheel and have made a cart and now can move your coal 500 pounds at a time instead of 100. You would have to push or pull your cart 500 miles. If you could maintain a 2 miles per hour pace you have to go for over 10 days strait with no breaks. Using the same calorie consumption as above you would have used about 70 pounds of sugar or 231 Big Macs.

When I think about it I wonder where we would be without oil.

gaw
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### Re: The awesome power of oil

What will really make you think is how inefficient combustion engines are.

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### Re: The awesome power of oil

gaw wrote:When I think about it I wonder where we would be without oil.

We would have perfected the steam powered truck fueled by coal.

JB Sparks
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### Re: The awesome power of oil

JB Sparks wrote:steam powered truck fueled by coal.

That was my thought! A gallon of oil takes up about 1/6th cubic foot of space. Take that space & fill it with coal, extract the energy from the coal and you'll do more work!

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### Re: The awesome power of oil

Richard S. wrote:What will really make you think is how inefficient combustion engines are.

I have read that diesels can reach efficiencies of 40%. I don’t know what the average efficiency is of a truck but probably less than 40%. Gasoline powered cars are 25-30% efficient. I think I heard somewhere that a train uses about half the fuel per ton moved versus a truck, but I don’t have a source for that, just a foggy recollection.

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### Re: The awesome power of oil

gaw wrote: I think I heard somewhere that a train uses about half the fuel per ton moved versus a truck, but I don’t have a source for that, just a foggy recollection.

It's a lot less, I think something like 1/4 but I'm not sure. I think they store the energy like they are starting to do now on cars during braking and downhill. They also have the advantage of being on fairly flat ground all, less resistance with the steel wheels... lots of reasons why.

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### Re: The awesome power of oil

Freddy wrote:
JB Sparks wrote:steam powered truck fueled by coal.

That was my thought! A gallon of oil takes up about 1/6th cubic foot of space. Take that space & fill it with coal, extract the energy from the coal and you'll do more work!

One reason the navy went from burning coal to burning oil in their ships was smoke, another reason was that oil takes up much less space than coal.

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### Re: The awesome power of oil

I have often had similar thoughts regarding gasoline.Most notably for me it occurrs after a full day of cutting log and splitting same.It is not uncommon for me to not be able to use one single gallon/day for saw and 6 h.p. splitter combined. When I look at the pile of splits at the end of the day,I am impressed, greatful and astounded what power is in one single gallon.It allows me not to have to pick up that 12# hammer to split one single piece of it.Even though we all enjoy our coal,I believe none of us wants the oil party to end completely. [save obama] Mike

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### Re: The awesome power of oil

We already went thru the steam powered phase with the Stanley steamers, that had trucks as well as cars. Maybe its time to put some newer designing to the steam engine & bring it back.
samhill
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### Re: The awesome power of oil

When people were bitching about the price of gas I liked to point out, try pushing your car down the interstate for 25 miles. After the first 100 feet, 4 bucks a gallon seems like a steal. Where else you going to get that much energy in the size of a milk jug??

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### Re: The awesome power of oil

nuclear power. A milk jug sized piece of material can power a ship for years.

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### Re: The awesome power of oil

My stove went out for a few days and while I was waiting for the part is was nice not having to tend to it. I see why coal easily lost its stranglehold on our nation for consumer heat once oil came out. Let face it if oil was inexpensive we wouldn't give coal much consideration . We would only use it to warm a cold room. But I'm a proud coal burner and a cheapie too.