The Oil Spill Put in Perspective

BY Travis Daub  August 3, 2010 at 12:21 PM EST

In an effort to better understand the magnitude of the gulf oil disaster, we’ve taken the newly published spill total and compared it against several real-world numbers. We’ll be adding to this list throughout the day. If you have a comparison you’d like to see added to this list, please leave a comment below.

  • $400 million – Approximate value of 205.8 million gallons of crude oil at today’s price. ($81.83 per barrel)
  • Delaware and Rhode Island – Amount of land that could be painted with the spilled oil, if it were spread at the same thickness as latex paint. (400 sq feet of coverage per gallon of oil)
  • CC - Some rights reserved -Beth-Kingery

  • 39 years – The amount of time it would take to spill 205.8 million gallons of water from the average backyard garden hose, at full pressure. (10 gallons per minute)
  • 95 million gallons – The amount of refined gasoline that could have been produced from the oil lost in the spill. (19.4 gallons of refined gasoline per barrel of crude oil)
  • 194,701 – The number of times a Toyota Prius (one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road) could drive on around the earth at the equator powered by gas refined from the crude oil lost in the spill.
  • 49,629 – The number of times a Lamborghini Murcielago (one of the least fuel-efficient cars on the road) could drive around the earth at the equator powered by gas refined from the crude oil lost in the spill.
  • 378 million gallons – The average amount of refined gasoline consumed in the United States every day.
  • 22,866 – The number of gasoline tanker trucks that could be filled by 205.8 million gallons of crude oil. (each with a 9,000 gallon capacity.)
  • 303 miles – distance those tanker trucks would cover, parked end to end.
  • 67,123 – Number of houses you could heat for 1 year with heating oil refined from the oil lost during the spill. (~10 gallons of heating oil per barrel of crude, and each house burning an average of 730 gallons of oil per year)

Chart by Chris Amico