The western world is completely reliant on petroleum. Petroleum is a liquid mixture of hydrocarbons present in certain strains of rock. The process of accessing petroleum involves extracting and refining materials from the earth to produce gasoline, kerosene, tar, oil, natural gas, and diesel. Organic materials such as plants and animals are the main compounds found in petroleum. The amount of people in the world using this material is at 83%, and many concerns regarding sustainability within the environment are being raised. With Americans driving over 255 million oil-based cars each day over 2.6 gallons of oil are consumed daily. Many are wondering exactly how long this material is going to last at the rate in which we are using it. With the global demand for oil continually rising it is important to find new alternatives and break our dependence on petroleum.
What is petroleum used for?
The causes of dependency of foreign oil are transportation, fuel oils, asphalt, generating heating and electricity, synthetic materials, road oil, plastics and feedstocks for chemicals. The United States utilizes more energy from petroleum than any other source. In 2016 the United States used approximately 7.21 billion barrels of petroleum. 47% was mo
tor gasoline (includes ethanol), 20% was distillate fuel used for heating and diesel fuel, and 8% was jet fuel.
What are good alternatives to petroleum?
There are numerous ways to reduce the dependency of petroleum. Many green restaurants recycle their cooking grease and are offering it to people to use for free. This yellow colored oil is being transformed into biodiesel and powering generation and heating. It emits fewer air pollutants and greenhouse gases than petroleum. Recycling used cooking oil is also aiding cities with keeping oil out of drain pipes, which in turn is helping with sewer infrastructure.
Coffee grounds are also being transformed into biodiesel. Practicing this method of waste reduction has proven to be very beneficial. Each year coffee grounds produce over 23 million tons of waste. Many coffee companies are generating methods to transform this waste into an alternative form of energy.
Animals are also doing their part to contribute to finding solutions. Cow manure produces methane which produces energy. Methane from 2,500 cows has the power to provide energy to approximately 200 homes. Using cows as a source of energy is providing dairy farms with another source of income.
How do I use less petroleum?
Now that you are aware of the steadily increasing alternatives to petroleum use, there are a few ways that you can make an impact on your daily life. Many people are carpooling with neighbors and colleagues, combining trips, taking fewer airplane flights, using reusable bottles for water, purchasing hemp and cotton clothing, and buying beauty products with natural ingredients. It may take some time to transform our society; however, tools are currently in place to make sure that changes to positively affect the future are being made!
Expanding our transportation fuel sources is the best way to solve this problem. Using domestically produced alternative fuels —like propane, bio-diesel, ethanol, natural gas, electricity, and hydrogen will decrease the use of oil we use and minimize the amount of foreign oil we import. Ultimately reducing our dependence on foreign oil.