Energy availability, supply and use play a central role in the way societies organize themselves, from individual welfare to social and industrial development. By extension, energy accessibility and cost is a determining factor for the economical, political and social interrelations among nations. Considering energy sources, human society has dramatically increased the use of fossil fuels in the past 50 years in a way that the most successful economies are large consumers of oil. However, geopolitical factors related to security of oil supply, high oil prices and serious environmental concerns, prompted by global warming - the use of petrol for transportation accounts for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions (Wyman, 1996) - have led to a push towards decreased consumption. Indeed, the world's strongest economies are deeply committed to the development of technologies aiming at the use of renewable sources of energy. Within this agenda, the substitution of liquid fuel gasoline by renewable ethanol is of foremost importance.
Fossil fuels or mineral fuels are fossil source fuels, that is, hydrocarbons found within the top layer of the Earth\u2019s crust. They range from volatile materials with low carbon:hydrogen ratios like methane, to liquid petroleum to nonvolatile materials composed of almost pure carbon, like anthracite coal. Methane can be found in hydrocarbon fields, alone, associated with oil, or in the form of methane clathrates. It is generally accepted that they formed from the fossilized remains of dead plants and animals by exposure to heat and pressure in the Earth's crust over hundreds of millions of years. This is known as the biogenic theory and was first introduced by Georg Agricola in 1556 and later by Mikhail Lomonosov in 1757. There is an opposing more modern theory that the more volatile hydrocarbons, especially natural gas, are formed by abiogenic processes, that is no living material was involved in their formation.
It was estimated by the Energy Information Administration that in 2005, 86% of primary energy production in the world came from burning fossil fuels, with the remaining non-fossil sources being hydroelectric 6.3%, nuclear 6.0%, and other (geothermal, solar, wind, and wood and waste) 0.9 percent.
There are two main ways to measure the oil consumption rates of countries: by population or by gross domestic product (GDP). This metric is important in the global debate over oil consumption/energy consumption/climate change because it takes social and economic considerations into account when scoring countries on their oil consumption/energy consumption/climate change goals. Nations such as China and India with large populations tend to promote the use of population based metrics, while nations with large economies such as the United States would tend to promote the GDP based metric.
Per capita energy consumption, oil
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