The scale of electricity use by fossil fuel refining

This is a fascinating episode of Robert Llewellyn’s (highly recommended) Fully Charged show. Ostensibly it’s a review of the rather dull Lexus is300h (just another hybrid) but actually the second half is an analysis of how much electricity is used in refining petrol and diesel fuels. He comes up with a figure of 4.5kWh of electricity wasted to refine one gallon.

This video is set to start at that point:

It gives a UK perspective on the well-known quote from Revenge of the Electric Car, usually attributed to Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla Motors) but really from the film’s director Chris Paine:

“you have enough electricity to power all the cars in the country if you stop refining gasoline. You take an average of 5 kilowatt hours to refine gasoline, something like the Model S can go 20 miles on 5 kilowatt hours. You basically have the energy needed to power electric vehicles if you stop refining.”

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