50 astounding things you need to know about oil

Why fifty facts? Oil is essential to us, we use it in transport, industry, plastics and energy. And those uses let us communicate, decorate ourselves and our houses, stay healthy and eat. These 50 facts are a tiny representation of the kind of information you will find when you buy the volatile fickle unpredictable undependable price of oil. The sources are given as links in the captions.

This last update takes the facts to fifty – watch out for the related infographics, which will be posted next week.

Fifty (the economics of oil)


In recent times Brent oil prices have grown much faster than inflation

Forty-nine (just for WordPress)

Anyos Jedlik built the world’s first electricity generator but didn’t apply for a patent as he didn’t believe he could be the first.

Photo credit:By Szeder László (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Forty-five (just for WordPress)

You only need between 41 and 55 grams of protein a day.
photo credit: Guilty pleasure, snack division via photopin (license)
Forty-six (the economics of oil)


Water companies spend up to 5% of their running costs on energy (3% of the UK’s total energy use)
Forty-seven (just for WordPress)


In the OECD radioactive waste (inc containers) account for 5% of toxic waste

Forty-eight (the economics of oil)


The UK spends £28m a year to clean litter from our beaches and £1bn a year cleaning streets

photo credit:Litter on Singapore’s ECP via photopin (license)

Forty-one (just for WordPress)


The gases from rockets DO NOT push against the ground
Forty-two (the economics of oil)


10-30% of supermarket energy powers fridges and freezes yet they stand open
Forty-three (just for WordPress)


In 2011 69% of the UK’s packaging plastics went to landfill
Forty-four (the economics of oil)


The UK economy could grow by £19bn a year, just by importing less raw material #recycle
Thirty-seven (just for WordPress)

In 1586 moving an obelisk 400-metres used 900 men and 140 horses, who used 44 winches to heave on 40,000 tons of iron bar and hemp rope and took five months.
Four hundred years later, moving a light house took two days. And a lot of oil.

Picture credit:Tommy Ferraz

Thirty-eight (oil powers our lives)


In 2013 six UK customers in ten experienced power cuts. The average length was 61 minutes
Thirty-nine (just for WordPress)

food prices

Is food too expensive? No, it is too cheap. 20% of humanity work in agriculture but generate only 4% of GDP.
Forty (just for WordPress)


The UK has been fracking oil wells since the seventies
Thirty-three (just for WordPress)


Godalming, Surrey had the world’s first electricity market photo credit: Founder’s Court with the statue of Thomas Sutton via photopin (license)

Thirty-four (oil powers our lives)


Just changing one halogen lamp for an LED ut my energy consumption by 40W
Thirty-five (just for WordPress)


75% of people believe their clothes are dirty when they can no longer smell the oil-based scents left behind my detergents and fabric conditioners

photo credit:Honeymoon_Anna_302 via photopin(license)

Thirty-six (oil powers our lives)


The UK loses 8% of its electricity. 97% is lost in transmission and distribution
Twenty-nine (just for WordPress)


Industry has a larger carbon footprint than transport

Thirty (oil powers our lives)


In 2014 UK businesses produced 60TWh of energy from CHP – 10% of which was renewable – they sold about 1/2 of it

Thirty-one (just for WordPress)


8.1 million UK households are not on mains gas

photo credit:Science Stock Photos

Thirty-two (oil powers our lives)


If 15% of UK homes bought a 1kW micro CHP we could close a medium sized power station
Twenty-five (oil gets us from a to b)

In 2012 shipping produced as much CO2 as Germany and Austria combined
Twenty-six (just for WordPress)


Crisp makers use nitrogen to make packing easier and crisps crispier.
Twenty-seven (just for WordPress)


7% of the oil used in industry makes plastics and lubricants, the rest is used for energy
Twenty-eight (oil powers our lives)


Stoke on Trent rests on an ancient volcano and will be using its heat for a district heating scheme
Twenty-one (Oil gets us from a to b)


George Bush wanted to ban petrol vehicles in cities and replace them with methanol from coal
Twenty-two (just for WordPress)


Each calorie of food you buy has consumed 5-10 calories to get to you (not including sunlight)
Twenty-three (Oil gets us from a to b)

The first hydrogen powered car hit the streets in 1807, there have been over 200 vehicles since
Twenty-four (just for WordPress)


As well as providing the polymers oil is used to colour and improve the properties of plastic
Seventeen (Oil gets us from a to b)


Per tonne of goods moved on kilometre sea is best for carbon and worst for pollution
Eighteen (just for WordPress)


Güssing Austria slashed carbon emissions and attracted energy intensive industry with lower costs
Nineteen (Oil gets us from a to b)


Individuals travelling by road burn 63% of the oil used in transport
Twenty (just for WordPress)


Cats kill 1,000 times as many birds as wind turbines
Thirteen (just for WordPress)


Wind turbines claim 2% of the Golden Eagles killed by humanity
Fourteen (just for WordPress)
wartime government

The wartime government chose to use oil to boost the economy

By Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Fifteen (Oil gets us from a to b)


Transport (therefore oil) employs 5% of the UK population
Sixteen (just for WordPress)


Just to make the steel in a shipping container consumes over 3,000 litres of oil
Nine (just for WordPress)


Italy has the world’s largest SMART grid (mainly meters) it saves €500m per year on an investment of €2 .2 billion
Ten (Oil is in the way we connect)


Including manufacture the internet and connecting devices use 2% of our energy
Eleven (just for WordPress)

To use less oil for plastics we can replace, reduce, reuse, repair or recycle
Twelve (Oil is in the way we connect)

Swtiching off all our homebased devices could save £8.6bn per year and see off a large power station
Five (just for WordPress)

Electrocution (the action and the word) was invented to promote electricity with a direct current

Electrocution (the action and the word) was invented to promote electricity with a direct current
Six (Oil is in the way we connect)

89% of UK homes have internet access, single people aged over 65 have fewest connections
Seven (just for WordPress)


The plastics industry in the UK is bigger than automotive and pharmaceuticals combined
photo credit:
Steinar La Engeland via unsplash(license)
Eight (Oil is in the way we connect)


In 2014 59% of humanity could not access the internet
One(just for WordPress)

Pumped hydro has stored energy since the 1890s
Two (Oil is in the way we connect)


@27.9 Mbps the UK has the highest average mobile internet speeds in Europe
Three (just for WordPress)

Oil IS NOT made of decomposed dinosaurs
photo credit: Huesitos via photopin (license)
Four (Oil is in the way we connect)

@82mbps Romania has the fastest peak internet speeds in Europe - http://buff.ly/2cJY8JV

@82mbps Romania has the fastest peak internet speeds in Europe


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