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Producing plastic bottles for American consumption required the equivalent of more than 17 million
barrels of oil, not including the energy for transportation!
Fact Sheet

The chart below offers another way to look at energy conservation. When discussing fossil fuel consumption, the spotlight usually falls on large recreational vehicles, but what about bottled water? The Pacific Institute estimates that the total amount of energy embedded in our use of bottled water can be as high as the equivalent of filling a plastic bottle one quarter full with oil.

While some members of the public are unaware that a significant amount of crude oil used to produce bottled water; these same individuals remain keenly, and sometimes angrily, focused on the differences in fuel efficiency among various models of automobiles consumers choose to drive.

Compared with commuting to work, how important is our preference for bottled water? In contrast to necessary transportation, the consumption of water in plastic bottles is a recent phenomenon and is too often an indulgent luxury.

Some experts estimate that the average American family consumes 32 bottles of water every week and that about two gallons of crude oil is required to produce those 32 units of bottled water.

Alternatively, the same quantity of crude oil (i.e. two gallons) could be used to make about one gallon of gasoline.The chart below shows the average number of miles various types of vehicles can be driven to consume the same amount of crude oil required to produce 32 (16 oz) units of bottled water.

CATEGORY

MILES DRIVEN PER TWO GALLONS OF CRUDE OIL (2006)

BOTTLES OF WATER


Large SUV's, modified passenger trucks (big tires), etc.


Crossovers, sport utility vehicles, etc.


Mid-sized sedans, coupes, wagons, etc.


Hybrids (e.g. Prius, Civic)


Small sports cars


High performance, cruisers, commuter, etc.


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