Considering how calorie-rich petrol is, why can’t we live off of it?


In countries like the US, oil is cheaper than water!

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Because the body can’t digest it, the body needs to be able to convert the calories in the substance and petroleum isn’t a human food substance.

You mean like drink it?

Because we are unable to digest it. The same can be said for plants: stuff that has energy locked up in a form we can’t ingest is all over the place. We also can’t stick our hands in outlets to power ourselves.

Petrol is a hydrocarbon not a carbohydrate.

Hydrocarbons are carbon and hydrogen, while carbohydrates are carbon hydrogen and oxygen. Something about the oxygen makes it digestible.

No, oil is not “calorie rich”. It can be burned to produce thermal energy, but you don’t have any fires inside you. Outside a few bacteria, there are no plants or animals that have evolved mechanisms to extract the chemical energy in oil. They mostly have mechanisms to extract chemical energy from protein, fat, sugars, carbohydrates, grasses, … .

2 problems:

1 oil exist because almost no living creature can digest it. It’s the leftover of millions of year of organic material decomposing. The bacteria eat everything else but that.

2 it is still organic in the sense that it is a molecule derivate from living organisms. Because of that, your body can and will mistake it for something else and incorporate it in some processes. This can result in normal poisoning or cancer.

>In countries like the US, oil is cheaper than water!

That is not true.

[According to EPA]( the average tap water cost in the US is slightly over $2 per 1000 gallons.

The average US gasoline cost is $3.2 per gallon. So gasoline is over 1000x more expensive.

A barrel of oil is 42 gallons and crude oil cost in the US is on average close to $60. So we talks about a 700x the cost of tap water.

Bottle water can cost more than tap water. The cost of bottled water is one of bottling, transportation, marketing etc. The cost of the water itself is an insignificant part of the cost.

If you want to be broad enough in your definitions, we do. We get the food we eat from industrial farming methods which are energy-intensive, and most of that energy is from oil- tractors, transport, etc.

Remove petrol from the food supply system, and we starve.

“calories” are just a measure of energy.

The human body doesn’t need “energy”, it needs *food*. Uranium is full of energy too, but I wouldn’t suggest eating it.

Sometimes, people really want the body to be reduced to an equation, but it’s not. The body is a few billion years of evolution. It’s messy and complex and it’s evolved for a very specific niche in a very specific environment.

The human body is not an equation on a piece of paper where this much abstract *energy* is magically transformed into this much activity. It’s a biological entity which has the tools to extract energy from some very specific organic compounds and harness some of that energy to maintain itself and to move around.

You can’t feed it electricity or uranium or petrol or anything else, no matter how much energy that contains, just like you can’t power it with wind or sunlight, despite those too containing some form of energy.