Friday, June 25, 2010
And up from the ground come a bubblin' crude...
Oil that is, black gold, Texas Tea.
Lately I've had the occasion to be stuck in a few stock-still traffic jams on The Capital of Texas Highway aka Hwy 360. I've been largely silent about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but it's not that I haven't been thinking about it. On a daily basis. My "Alex is absolutely fucking livid again" tag doesn't even come close to how I feel about this spill, which in its present scope and scale alone, is beyond Biblical proportions. The spill is a symptom of a much larger problem - which I don't have the time or room or energy to go into right now.
So, I'm sitting in these traffic jams thinking about how much oil is spewing from that hole in the flesh of our Mother Earth. Wondering how to quantify it in terms that I (and hopefully others) can get my head around. I came up with trying to figure out how many miles of roadway that crude oil would cover.
Cover in a thin film. Like throw a gallon pail of crude oil on the concrete or asphalt. I'm assuming it would cover about 100 square feet, about a 10 foot by 10 foot area - as if you threw a can of paint out of its can. I realize crude oil is more globby/yucky and wouldn't likely spread like thin paint, but this is simply an order-of-magnitude estimate on my part.
So, I better wrap this up before I lose you. I won't delve too deeply into the math. Simple math really.
First, in this exercise I'm looking at total U.S. "Crude Oil" consumption (not just gasoline) per day :: 19,498,000 barrels per day @ 42 gallons per barrel = 818,916,000 gallons per day.
The Interstate Highway System of these United States of America is 46,876 miles long in total (as of 2006). That's almost twice around the Earth - the circumference of the Earth is plus or minus 24k miles at the equator.
So here it is:
The total U.S. crude oil consumption would cover the entire Intestate Highway System (46,876 miles) with a thin film of crude oil.
Not just once.
But four and a half (4.5) times. Both sides of the highway.
Four and half times. Every day. Three hundred and sixty five days a year.
Year after year.
Estimates put the daily rate of the BP Oil Spill at 30,000 barrels per day.
That amount would cover roughly 314 miles of Interstate Highway every day. That's about a third of the way across Texas on I-10.
And up from the ground come a bubblin' crude.