(Disclaimer: All the following facts and figures are obtained from the internet, you should do your own internet search to verify the facts.)
– A petrol or diesel car (say, a Maruti Swift) uses what is called an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE).
– As the words show, an ICE operates by exploding fuel. The explosion in a cylinder is channelized through a piston to become the motion of the car.
– Efficiency of an Internal Combustion Engine is very low. Wikipedia says that 18-20% is the average efficiency of an ICE.
– This means that when you buy petrol for Rs 100, Rs. 80 is going waste because of the limits inherent in an ICE.
– In spite of the limits, a Maruti Swift can go 20 kilometres by exploding one litre of petrol.
– Which means that the petrol that fits into a water-bottle-sized container has the power equal to a person pushing the Maruti Swift, weighing 875-905 kilograms, for 20 kilometres.
– Imagine that! Fossil fuels have miraculous superpowers.
– The 875-905 kilograms of the Maruti Swift is holding all the paraphernalia required to move 4 people comfortably and fast.
– At an average of 70 kilograms per person, that is 280 kilograms of people. So the Maruti Swift has a self-weight 3.2 times the weight of the people it can carry.
– In a Maruti Swift with 4 people inside, out of every Rs. 100 we pay for petrol, Rs. 76 is being used to carry the self-weight of the car and only Rs. 24 is used to carry the weight of the 4 people.
– If you combine the data above with the efficiency of an ICE, every Rs. 100 you spend on petrol gets you only 24% of Rs. 20 or about Rs 5 worth of personal transport. (If you do the maths with one person in a Maruti Swift, for every Rs 100, Rs. 98.5 is going away as heat or is carrying the self-weight of the car)
– A solar cooker is a simple device. It is made of a box painted black inside with a glass lid on top. Water boils easily inside the cooker.
– The Maruti Swift with its windows rolled up behaves like a solar cooker. And then we burn more of our miraculous fossil fuel to cool the interior of the solar-cooker-like car. Further reducing the efficiency of the car.
“The origin of fossil fuels is the anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The conversion from these materials to high-carbon fossil fuels typically require a geological process of millions of years.”
This is what we are squandering unthinkingly!