free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 54. MANUFACTURERS DON'T USE MUCH OIL

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


The EIA has lots of data on fuel consumption, classified by type of fuel and industry:
EIA Stats on Oil Use by Industry

Look at this Table of fuel consumption by fuel and industry.
As you can see from the Table, oil products play a very small role as an energy input for manufacturing.

For example, consider "Transport Machinery" (NAICS code no.: 336). This category includes motor vehicle and truck manufacturing etc.

If you're curious about all the diverse types of vehicle manufacturing which fall under NAICS 336, go here and scroll down.

Energy consumption for transport machinery manufacturing breaks down as follows for 1998 (figures are in trillion BTUs):

Total energy consumption: 488
Net electricity: 195
Residual fuel oil: 5
Distillate fuel oil: 15
Natural gas: 211
LPG and NGL: 4
Coal: 29
Coke and breeze: 1
Other: 29

As you can see, the primary energy inputs to transport machinery manufacturing are electricity and natural gas. Oil accounts for only about 4% of energy use in this sector.


Matt Savinar, another peak oil fearmonger, says this on his website "Life After the Oil Crash":
Hybrids or so called "hyper-cars" aren't the answer either because the construction of an average car consumes approximately 27-54 barrels (1,110-2,200 gallons) of oil. (Source)

He bases this statement on the following data:
The average car will consume during its construction 10% of the energy used during its lifetime. (Source)

Note that the data says "car manufacturing requires energy", and Savinar duplicitously changes this halfway through the calculation to "car manufacturing requires oil". I call this fraudulent tactic the "switcheroo" and I've seen it a hundred times talking to peak oilers. Watch out for it.

Conclusion: it doesn't take hardly any oil to manufacture a car.


But, JD, what about the glass and steel?

The glass industry doesn't use much oil:

Energy Consumptiond by Fuel – 1998
(NAICS 3272 Glass and Glass Product Manufacturing)
(Trillion Btu)

Neither does the steel industry:

Energy Consumption by Fuel – 1998
(NAICS 331111 Iron and Steel Mills & 3312 Steel Product Manufacturing from Purchased Steel)
(trillion Btu)

Neither does the metalcasting industry:

Energy Consumption by Fuel – 1998
(NAICS 3315 Foundries)
(Trillion Btu)

(The above pie charts and a wealth of other information on oil and manufacturing can be found here.)


At Wednesday, August 24, 2005 at 7:02:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of the reporting of oil use in X activity is actually erroneous readings, the obvious one being MTOE or Million tones of oil equivalent. This is just a way of showing information rather than indicating that oil is actually used. You can convert kw/hrs or BTUs to MTOE used quite easily and it helps to show the overall effect.

For example, in the UK oil is 32% of primary energy used. 1/3 is not quite as significant as Peakers would imagine or tell you but still significant. But then you have to consider that most of this is going on trips to the local shops, frivolous journeys to see Aunt Maude in Chipping Norton and £1 trips by Easy Jet to Bordeaux for a weekend wine guzzling contest. The reality is there is more than enough energy from Bio diesel or electrical generation to run tractors, trucks, buses, trains and airline business trips to the US and the bread and butter of life. It just so happens in the free market system, anyone can buy the fuel from the farmer growing food to the local teen racer running a beaten up Ford Fiesta running around at 80mph with his foot hard down in city streets to impress the local female Chav population.

Plastics are of course made out of oil, but then they can be made out of numerous materials including orange peel and the well-known celeb warming gas Co2.

At Friday, August 26, 2005 at 7:38:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is classic John Denver.

He fails to note that I use the term "energy equivalent." This is common throughout the energy industry. You've probably heard people say things like "Barrels of oil equivalent" when referring to our combined consumption of natural gas and coal.

Now putting that aside for a moment, remember: we are facing two immeadite crisis and one medium-term crisis.

1. Oil. It's 40% of our energy overall and 99% of our transportation energy. It's peaking.

2. Natural Gas. It's 25% of our energy and it's set to go off a cliff. Unlike oil, it's extremely difficult to import from other countries not on the N. American land mass.

3. Coal. 25% of our energy, and what's left is abundnat but has a rapidly falling eroei and is of the dirtier variety.

At Friday, August 26, 2005 at 7:46:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Actually, thanks for the pie charts. I'm going to include that data in a new version of my book, if I manage to get it done prior to tshtf.

Natural gas is in crisis to, as I'm sure you know. So the fact that 50% of the manufacturing for glass and a significant percentage steal takes n.g. and n.g. is set to go off a cliff underscores how serious things are.

Thanks for the research.



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