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.