On The Cost of Energy

oil wellMichael Tobis does some nice number-crunching on the true costs of energy:

A hundred dollars a barrel. A barrel! Energy is unbelievably cheap.

That’s about six million BTUs. One point seven megawatt hours. With that $100 barrel you can power your laptop for two years. You can ship hundreds of pounds of bananas from Guatemala. You can microwave a hundred and two thousand cups of tea to steaming warmth. You can power the digital clock on your microwave for seven million years!

It’s not that energy is too expensive. It’s that it’s too cheap. It’s made us ridiculously lazy.

Especially worthy of note is Michael’s calculation of the cost of shipping a tomato across the country. Not as much as you might think, and (most importantly) not as much as the cost of getting it home from the market in your car.

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