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6 Things The Oil Spill Could Power

If the vast amounts of oil unleashed in the Gulf could be used to power things, what could we do? Happy World Ocean Day, everyone! You might be surprised just how much that amount of oil could power, if it weren't being used to kill pelicans and ruin fishermans' lives.

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According to some estimates, the spill is pushing out about 1,050,000 gallons per day, meaning that, so far, there are about 50,000,000 gallons floating around in the Gulf of Mexico -- PBS has a handy little widget for this. THIS IS OF COURSE A VERY LOOSE ESTIMATE. The mere fact that BP got us talking about "barrels per day" from the beginning shows how much they've wanted to obscure the number. Who the hell knows how many gallons are in a barrel of oil (hint: 42). Anyway, let's just go ahead and take the 50MM gallons as a starting point, k?

Just how much oil is this?

Enough to provide the electricity to run the Empire State Building for the next 50 years.

About enough to power 183,000 homes for a year -- a city roughly the size of Knoxville, Tennessee. Damn you, Knoxville!

Enough to produce roughly 22,000,000 gallons of gasoline, or about as much as the entire population of San Diego uses in a year driving their cars (if the entire population actually drove all the time). Damn you, San Diego!

It's also enough gas to let a 2010 Toyota Prius drive 1.1 billion miles, which is almost 6 roundtrip visits to the sun.

Or to power all the cars in the Nascar Sprint Series for almost 163 years.

It's also about 1/17th the amount of gas our country uses in one day -- 378 million gallons.

So, we're all partly to blame here. Unless you're a mass-transit riding urban hippie, WHICH YOU PROBABLY ARE.