In today’s environment, discussions about energy prices, British thermal units, and the going price of Brent or West Texas Intermediate can make the energy produced by a single barrel of oil seem more confusing than it needs to be.
The United States has seen a boom in oil production as of late, which is providing positive growth for the country’s economy and energy landscape. A single 42 gallon barrel of oil produced in the U.S. is the equivalent of 5.8 million British Thermal Units, however, such a number is difficult to quantify in terms of terms of actual energy expenditures.
Oil is an important commodity as it can power everything from cars to homes. The record amounts of production in the country are capable of producing a significant amount of energy, but just how much can a single barrel really produce?
A single barrel has enough energy to power an incandescent light bulb for two entire years, if it was running all the time. This is equivalent to the amount of power generated by burning 725 pounds of oven-dried wood, which would make for quite a large fire.
For the more food-minded consumer, this is equivalent to the caloric intake of eating 200 turkeys, or for the pastry fan, 9,500 twinkies.
In terms of energy expenditure, these numbers can be quite surprising. These figures are equal to a pedal bike producing 100 watts of electricity per hour for 40 hours a week for eight years, or an actual bike rider traveling 15 miles per hour for 20,000 miles. However, one of the more applicable uses of a barrel of oil would be in the automotive industry, in which a single barrel could power 7.5 300 horsepower motors.
As oil production continues to grow in the U.S., the implications of the energy potential in the U.S. are huge.