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  #1  
Old 14 September 2014, 03:10 PM
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Blow Your Top Bottled Water uses enough oil to fuel 1 million cars a year

Spotted this gem going through my Facebook feed:



Also that it takes 17 million barrels of oil per year to produce the bottles.

Seems really fishy without any attribution.
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  #2  
Old 14 September 2014, 03:31 PM
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Try this which I found through this

Of course that does not cover how many cars it would fuel.
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  #3  
Old 14 September 2014, 03:45 PM
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Blow Your Top

Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
Try this which I found through this

Of course that does not cover how many cars it would fuel.
Actually, Mack I does cover that :

"Abstract

The Pacific Institute finds that it took approximately 17 million barrels of oil equivalent to produce plastic for bottled water consumed by Americans in 2006—enough energy to fuel more than 1 million American cars and light trucks for a year."

-and to put it mildly, I am very surprised at that number! I wonder if that takes recycling into account?

Also: What is "oil equivalent"? could it be used as oil? Refined into Gasoline? I'm just curious...

/off to do some research
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Old 14 September 2014, 03:49 PM
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Jake, what I meant was that it makes the assertion, but it does not justify that this is what 1 million average cars would use.
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  #5  
Old 14 September 2014, 04:03 PM
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A barrel of oil produces 19 gallons of gasoline, so 17 million barrels of oil shared by 1 million automobiles over the course of a year would provide each car with 323 gallons of gasoline annually. That seems rather low to me, given the averages for MPG and number of miles driven per year. Even if you assumed every automobile gets 30 MPG (a rather high estimate, I think), that would mean the average driver travels less than 10,000 miles per year.
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Old 14 September 2014, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Jake View Post
"The Pacific Institute finds that it took approximately 17 million barrels of oil equivalent to produce plastic for bottled water consumed by Americans in 2006—enough energy to fuel more than 1 million American cars and light trucks for a year."

-and to put it mildly, I am very surprised at that number! I wonder if that takes recycling into account?

Also: What is "oil equivalent"? could it be used as oil? Refined into Gasoline? I'm just curious...
"Barrel of oil equivalent" is a unit of energy equal to 5.8 million British Thermal Units or about 6.1 gigajoules.

Your quote says that bottles water production used energy equivalent to that in 17 million barrels of oil (so about 100 petajoules). If this amount of energy was divided by 1 million cars then each car would get 100 GJ. Gasoline has 120 MJ per US gallon so each car would get 833 US gallons of fuel - enough to drive the average new American car 20,825 miles.

I wonder if the person who made the original image read the report you quoted but got "barrel of oil equivalent" mixed up with "barrel of oil" which, as snopes pointed out, gives a rather different result.
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Old 14 September 2014, 05:24 PM
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Yeah, the problem is that a refined barrel of oil produces a lot of stuff other than gasoline which can be converted to energy but can't directly fuel an automobile (e.g., fuel oil, lubricants). So in terms of how many cars it will power, do you measure a barrel of oil by the amount of gasoline it produces or the overall amount of energy it produces?
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Old 15 September 2014, 02:49 PM
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I would go with how much gasoline it produces as the other products from cracking a barrel of oil cannot power an unmodified car. But, the statement is cars and light trucks, so I would include diesel fuel in addition to gasoline.

This ABC News article says a barrel of oil produces 22.6 gallons of gasoline and 6.7 gallons of diesel.

Assumption 1: 25 mpg for gasoline cars/trucks and 18 mpg for light trucks that use diesel.
Assumption 2: 825,000 vehicles that are gasoline powered and 175,000 that are diesel powered.

Result: With the gasoline and diesel from 17 million barrels you can drive 11,600 miles per year per vehicle on gasoline and 11,715 miles per year per vehicle for diesel. While those numbers are low for average miles driven per year, they aren't that far off. Note the mileage numbers may seem high, but those two assumptions result in an average mpg of 23.775 for cars and light trucks, only 0.115 higher than the average for cars sold in 2012.
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Old 15 September 2014, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Jake View Post
The Pacific Institute finds that it took approximately 17 million barrels of oil equivalent to produce plastic for bottled water consumed by Americans in 2006—enough energy to fuel more than 1 million American cars and light trucks for a year."
The problem is that statistic is 8 years old. A lot of plastic now a days is sourced from natural gas.

http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=14891
Quote:
Because many U.S. plastic manufacturers use natural gas as their primary fuel source and natural gas-sourced liquids as a feedstock
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Old 16 September 2014, 01:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryM View Post
"Barrel of oil equivalent" is a unit of energy equal to 5.8 million British Thermal Units or about 6.1 gigajoules.
Wow, Gary... Thanks for that information. I learned something new today
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  #11  
Old 16 September 2014, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KirkMcD View Post
The problem is that statistic is 8 years old. A lot of plastic now a days is sourced from natural gas.
OK but the OP is talking about worldwide production of polyurethane, not plastics in the US.

Also, it's still non-renewable fossil fuels. As long as the gasoline comparison is just that, I don't see why that would make a big difference. Some vehicles use natural gas as well.
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  #12  
Old 17 September 2014, 12:15 AM
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According to the article
(http://pacinst.org/publication/bottl...-a-fact-sheet/)
31 billion liters of water sold
124 billion liters of water to produce the water sold
3.8 billion liters of oil (17 million barrels) of oil to make the bottles

It takes a liter of oil to make enough bottles for 8 liters of water?
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  #13  
Old 17 September 2014, 01:45 AM
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It's talking about energy, not raw materials. Seems in the ballpark to me - if these other figures cited are correct.
Quote:
According to the plastics manufacturing industry, it takes around 3.4 megajoules of energy to make a typical one-liter plastic bottle, cap, and packaging.
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  #14  
Old 17 September 2014, 01:56 AM
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I think the unit "barrel of oil equivalent" needs to be done away with for being too confusing. Let's just stick with joules!
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  #15  
Old 17 September 2014, 02:19 AM
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The whole argument seems to hinge on how much energy is used in total and how much energy is required to clean, filter, and transport water for drinking by other methods. 90 million barrels of oil per day are consumed globally - and that's just oil. So engergywise, it's not infinitesimal but doesn't merit a conservation campaign, IMO.

Water is a central part of human life. Bottled water isn't a luxury in many places in the world. It would be nice to have potable water brought to every home in pipes or in reused containers. OK, so some people who already have that drink from plastic bottles too. It's not really a huge source of energy waste considering how much is used on other drinks, and on food and entertainment, etc. Yes, it's better for the environment to drink water from the tap if you can. We already know that. Making a mountain out of this particular molehill is not a very convincing argument for changing habits.
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  #16  
Old 17 September 2014, 04:20 AM
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That's what kind of gets me about this. I'm glad it's easier to cut down on bottled water now. I live in a place with really good tap water, use glass bottles at work and when I travel, and sport bottles for running (which I refill at public fountains). I do buy bottled water though, in the situations where other people buy bottled pop or juice - if I'm buying fast food, or hitting a convenience store on a road trip, or need a quick drink while I'm out without my own bottle. People don't seem to have a problem with other drinks that are kept in disposable containers, but put my drink of choice in the same bottle as a coke and it's a suddenly a huge waste. How many cars could be fuelled the other drink containers people store in their fridge? For all that I might 'waste' by occasionally buying bottled water, I'll bet I'm still ahead in the environmental game simply because I don't buy other drinks at all.

It's good to cut down on waste, but people seem to hate the idea at water exists as a purchasable drink at all. If drink containers are a problem, don't signal out water alone (or signal out the people who go through multiple bottles of pop per day instead of drinking water).
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