Sunday, January 11, 2009

Real Wealth Is Ideas Plus Energy

A few posts back I promised to see if people were substituting other fuels for petroleum to power the various modes transportation. The answer is definitely no.

Way back when, coal was a major transportation fuel, but this data series shows just the tail end of that era. Since the 1950s, petroleum has never provide less than 95% of the energy used by the sector.

Here's the bigger picture, as in energy use for whole country. Fossil fuels dominate, of course.

This graph shows the importance of fossil fuels even better. In 2007, petroleum, natural gas, and coal provided 39%, 23% and 22% of all energy respectively. The much ballyhooed but always "just around corner" technologies of solar and wind continue to provide only infinitesimal amounts of power.

Similar to the per-capita use of petroleum, total energy use has been flat for a while, this time since the 1970s. Ideally, the total should be going down.

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