The World Would Consume all of the Spilled Gulf Oil in 46 Minutes

How long would it take the people of Earth to consume all of the oil that has spilled in the Gulf thus far at the present rate of consumption?  I did the math – Using Wolfram Alpha (very handy, I recommend bookmarking it):

  • Based on 2007 estimates, world consumption was 86.09 million barrels of oil per day.  That’s 3,587,083 barrels per hour!
  • The latest estimates from the Department of Energy show that the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill is leaking between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels per day.  Let’s take the average: 47,500 barrels per day.
  • 47,500 barrels per day multiplied by 58 days (the number of days the spill has been occurring as of today), and you get 2,755,000 barrels of oil.
  • Divide 2,755,000 barrels by 3,587,083 barrels per hour, and you get 0.768 hours, or 46 minutes and 5 seconds.

I didn’t make this calculation to minimize the spill in the Gulf – I did it to point out how fast we consume oil.  Actually, if you already think we use too much oil, 46 minutes might seem like a longer time than you thought – which would give you an idea of just how big the oil spill really is.