Oil from Gulf spill could have powered 38,000 cars for a year

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Washington, June 10 (ANI): A professor who tried to look at the Gulf oil spill from a different perspective found that it could have powered 38,000 cars, and 3,400 trucks, and 1,800 ships for a full year.

Prof. James J. Corbett from University of Delaware based his findings on the estimated spill rate of 19,000 barrels of oil per day. He has launched a website that reports the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in terms of lost uses of the lost fuel on a daily basis.

Users can choose the spill rate they believe is most accurate from a range of reported estimates, and the website will automatically calculate how many cars, trucks, and ships could have been powered for a year.

Some of his findings are as follows - By May 5 (15 days after the spill), the oil lost could have fueled 470 container ships serving New York and New Jersey ports for a year. By May 25 (35 days after the spill), energy from the spilled oil could have provided a year's gasoline for all registered automobiles (about 26,000 cars) in Newark, Del., where UD's main campus is located.

"Energy resources offshore are being explored because each of us petroleum consumers is demanding more," Corbett says.

"Drilling this exploratory well by the Deepwater Horizon was an extremely high-risk proposition," Corbett says. "At $75 per barrel of crude oil, the oil spilled would have been worth about $90 million in terms of spill oil value if extracted for refining. Some experts are now estimating damages from the spill to exceed $10 billion. That's a potential 100 to 1 loss, given the spill damage-to-value ratio."

But the researcher proposes solutions too such as - improving automobile fuel economy to 35.5 miles per gallon, which would offset demand equivalent to the gasoline energy lost by 199 years of Deepwater Horizon daily releases, and adding only 2 mpg to the fuel economy for trucks, which would offset diesel-driven energy demand equivalent to 12 years of Deepwater Horizon daily releases. Shifting passengers from single-occupant cars to car-sharing/carpooling and better transit also would produce important reductions.

"The wise use of petroleum and other energy resources is an opportunity for each of us," Corbett says. "We can reduce the need to drill deeper into environmental risk. Within a few miles of our communities, we can do a lot to reduce energy demand." (ANI)

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