by Jerome a Paris
Tue Jun 28th, 2005 at 11:10:12 PM EST
Sometimes a good graph (slide 8 of this Rocky Mountain Institute presentation (pdf)) really is worth a thousand words:
Now combine this with this article:
Bad Mileage: 98 Tons Of Plants Per Gallon -- Study Shows Vast Amounts Of 'Buried Sunshine' Needed To Fuel Society
A staggering 98 tons of prehistoric, buried plant material – that's 196,000 pounds – is required to produce each gallon of gasoline we burn in our cars, SUVs, trucks and other vehicles, according to a study conducted at the University of Utah.
[T]hat's how much ancient plant matter had to be buried millions of years ago and converted by pressure, heat and time into oil to produce one gallon of gas, Dukes concluded.
Dukes also calculated that the amount of fossil fuel burned in a single year – 1997 was used in the study – totals 97 million billion pounds of carbon, which is equivalent to more than 400 times "all the plant matter that grows in the world in a year," including vast amounts of microscopic plant life in the oceans.
Here's the study: Buring Buried Sunshine
(pdf) (html summary here