Fossil fuels are part of what’s allowed civilization to get to the point it’s at now. Fossil fuels are used to power our homes, factories, and vehicles. Some would say that while fossil fuels have helped civilization grow, the downside is the impact they’ve had on the climate.
Let’s chat about what fossil fuels are. So there are a few types of fossil fuels; coal, crude oil, and natural gas. Each type of fossil fuel has its place in our world. Coal helps fuel about 1/3 of our world power, mainly in China, India, and the United States. Crude oil is pumped through the Earth and split through the process of refining to produce diesel, gasoline, and kerosene for power. Natural gas is usually methane that’s found near oil deposits and is collected through fracking.
Major Advantages of Fossil Fuels
Some of the major advantages of using fossil fuels are listed below.
Inexpensive Form of Energy
It’s easy to find and source fossil fuels for energy, thus making a huge advantage of using fossil fuels is their low-cost price tag. Another reason fossil fuels are inexpensive is that we have over 250 years of infrastructure in place to mine and frack the fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels are relatively reliable as they’re a natural resource that the earth seems to have plenty of. We have plenty of coalfields and the ability to frack natural gas helps keep the supply of fossil fuels readily accessible.
Plastic is one of the major by-products of fossil fuels. You’ll find that nearly everything in our life uses plastic. From the shopping bags at your grocery store to the containers you use to store food in, and beyond. We use plastic regularly and wouldn’t have plastic if not for fossil fuels.
Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels
As with most things, fossil fuels do have some disadvantages, please see our list below.
Once you’ve burned through fossil fuels you can’t use them again. This form of power is used up and non-renewable unlike other sources of power such as wind power or solar power. Some professionals suggest that we have about 100 years of coal production, 50 years of crude oil, and 50 years of natural gas left.
When oil rigs turn over or explode it can cause major issues with our water resources. Even though you might not hear of big oil spills, some oil can indeed leak out and in turn, slowly pollute our water. This can be devastating to wildlife and human beings as their water sources are depleted or poisoned by fossil fuels.
Air Pollution & Smog
Another disadvantage of fossil fuels is air pollution and smog it creates. Smog is formed when sunlight reacts to nitrogen oxide and other components of fossil fuels. Nitrogen oxide is emitted from running vehicles, coal power plants, and factories that use fossil fuels for energy.
These are just some of the advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels that we know about today. As we learn more and research more about the long-term impact of fossil fuels on our world, we’ll probably learn more disadvantages in that fossil fuels could be causing global warming and other casualties that could lead to human extinction.