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  • A stubborn railroad man in Pennsylvania, spent years digging a hole as leering crowds yelled and ridiculed him.


  • He eventually dug deep enough to silence his haters and changed the course of history around the world.


  • 168 years later, I'm at the gas station filling up my tank and something occurs to me.

    168 年後,我在一間加油站為車子加油時,突然想到了一件事。

  • Why do we still use gasoline? Why is no other fuel source has widely used?


  • The nozzle latch clicked and my tank was full, but I was full of nothing but questions. Why is gasoline the fuel of our society?


  • And I think this is a question a lot deeper than it seems.


  • Let's get something clear up top: gasoline isn't the be all and all.


  • There're other fuel types commonly used like diesel, biodiesel, natural gas, and Red Bull.


  • But while the margins are growing, gas is still king.


  • On any given day, the world uses around 100 million barrels of gasoline. That's over four billion gallons!

    全世界一天下來會用上 1 億桶的汽油。加起來總共是 40 億加侖 (約為 150 億公升)!

  • Nowadays, we turned crude oil into many different products like gasoline, polyester and polyurethane.


  • But many years ago, it was mainly processed to make kerosene for oil lamps.


  • In a time before electric lights, manufacturing the lamp fuel was big business. Everybody had kerosene lamps.


  • Gasoline was just a byproduct of kerosene production, and was used as a cleaning agent, or just simply thrown away.


  • After its first patent in 1853, it became the first material to be chemically extracted on a commercial scale.

    在 1853 年首次登記專利之後,石油變成了第一個以商業規模用化學方式開採的原料。

  • It isn't exactly easy to get that black stuff out of the earth. It's not like there's just a hose coming out of a rock.


  • An entire industry had to evolve to develop oil drilling and purification techniques.


  • Process of extracting oil from the earth we know nowadays, was pioneered by a railroad man hired by a kerosene company a little more than 150 years ago.

    而我們如今所知道的從地面下開採石油的方式,其實是由一個煤油公司所僱用的鐵路業者在 150 年前所開創的。

  • Pennsylvania, 1858. A conductor and all-around railway guy named Edwin Drake was hired by the Seneca Oil Company to investigate suspected oil reserve.

    賓夕法尼亞州,1858 年。一個名叫 Edwin Drake 的全能鐵路業者受到塞內卡石油公司的聘僱,負責調查潛在的地下石油儲備。

  • The potential oil represented millions of dollars in kerosene if it proved fruitful.


  • His mission was to extract oil from any reserves he found, but the problem was nothing like that had ever been done before.


  • He bought a drill and a steam engine to power the drill, and headed out to Oil Creek to start drilling.

    他於是買了一個鑽頭和一個為鑽頭提供動力的蒸汽機,並前往油溪 (賓州地名) 開始鑽探。

  • They drilled through loose gravel, and at around 16 feet down, the hole started collapsing.

    他們鑽過了鬆散的礫石岩層,而在鑽到大約 16 英尺時,洞穴開始逐漸坍塌。

  • Other workers despaired, but Drake was like, "Keep going! Use some iron pipes and driving down there like they were train!"

    其他的工人們對此大感失望,但 Drake 卻仍然喊著:「繼續挖!把一些鐵管連接起來,弄成像是火車那樣繼續往下就行了!」

  • Geez, I think this guy is obsessed with trains.


  • And thus, conductor pipes were born.


  • Used in 10 feet segments, the pipes prevented the holes from collapsing and allowed workers to drill deeper than ever before.

    每段 10 英尺的這些管道防止了孔洞的坍塌,使工人們能夠比以前鑽得更深。

  • At 32 feet down, they hit bedrock. After that, drilling slowed down significantly.

    在 32 英尺深處,他們鑽到了基岩,並在此後鑽井速度明顯放緩。

  • The project started seeming more and more futile.


  • It got so stupid that at one point, people would show up to heckle drake and his crew. He didn't let it get to him.

    事態變得愚蠢到人們一度出現在礦井旁,專門來嘲笑 Drake 和他的團隊。

  • He didn't let it get to him, and nevertheless he persisted.


  • And on August 27, 1859, Drake and his crew reached a depth of 69 feet.

    在 1859 年 8 月 27 日,Drake 和他的團隊成員們鑽到了 69 英尺的深度。

  • He was like, "Nice!" And so they all went home and ate pretzels.


  • Why is pretzels mentioned?


  • The next day, the drill operator was the first one to show up on site.


  • He looked down all 69 feet of the crevasse, and saw that sweet crude oil bubbling up from the hole. Bingo.

    他朝長達 69 英尺的裂縫向下看去,便看到那甜美的原油從洞裡汩汩而出。他們成功啦!

  • Despite how long it took drake to accomplish his drill, his innovative conductor pipe revolutionized oil drilling.

    儘管 Drake 花了許多時間才完成鑽井工作,他那創新的鑽油導管技術卻徹底革新了石油開採的方式。

  • The segmented pipes allow the steam drill to reach levels that were previously unimaginable.


  • Drake's well produced 25 barrels of oil a day, and by 1872, the whole Oil Creek area was producing 15.9 thousands barrels a day.

    Drake 的油井每天能產出 25 桶原油,而到了 1872 年,整個油溪地區每天能生產出 15 萬 千桶。

  • Kerosene production was the priority until automobile manufacturers started producing gasoline engines.


  • Nowadays we use gas because it's still one of the cheapest fuel sources to produce.


  • A gallon of gas cost less than a gallon of milk in the US.


  • I use milk as my universal cost standard.


  • Europeans pay a pretty penny for their gas, with the exception of Western Russia, who pays around 2.73$ a gallon.

    歐洲人得為汽油付出頗為昂貴的價錢,除了西俄羅斯以外。在那裡每加侖汽油的價格約為 2.73 美元。

  • The countries that pay the least for gas are the countries that have the most access to it.


  • It might be cheap, but that doesn't mean that gas is affordable.


  • In the US, the average daily income is $170, so a gallon of gas is 1.85% of the daily income.

    美國的人均日收入為 170 美元,所以一加侖的汽油約為每日收入的 1.85%。

  • Even though Nigerians pay 1.57$ a gallon, that's 30% of their daily income.

    而儘管奈及利亞的油價每加侖僅需 1.57 美元,但這卻相當於他們每日收入的 30%。

  • People in India get hit the hardest. They pay an average of 4.77$ a gallon, which is 77% of their daily average income.

    印度人的處境是最慘的。他們平均的油價為每加侖 4.77 美元,佔其人均日收入的 77%。

  • The cost of producing a barrel of gasoline around the world is just as diverse,


  • and it differs because of different factors like the availability of crude oil, taxes, subsidies, ease of transport and production labor.


  • So gas is cheap and makes the zoom zoom and a poom poom.


  • But it's hard to deny that's changing our climate.


  • At what point do we take responsibility and phase gasoline out?


  • Alternative fuels have been researched and utilized for as long as engines have been around.


  • Diesel is a viable alternative to gas.


  • Although it is derived from crude oil, as gas is, it has more potential energy which requires less of it to go a greater distance.


  • Biodiesel is even better because it doesn't require crude oil to produce.


  • It's made by chemically reacting lipids, or fats, with alcohol, which means that anything from coffee grounds to human flesh can be used to produce biofuel.


  • There are a couple of downsides to diesel though.


  • It pollutes more than gasoline, and because diesel engines require high amounts of pressure to perform, engines are costly to produce.


  • Ethanol has been praised as a fuel that will free us from our gasoline addiction.


  • Pure ethanol engines don't exist outside of the racetrack, so ethanol is used as an additive to gasoline.


  • Cutting gas with ethanol has advantages over pure gasoline, such as being biodegradable, polluting less and having a better energy balance.


  • Ethanol isn't perfect though.


  • For one, it corrodes steel, making it harder to ship. And it's not super cost effective.


  • And land that is used to grow corn or sugarcane for ethanol, could be used to grow food, which some people say is more important than gas.


  • The biggest problem though is that ethanol is a temporary solution to a much bigger problem.


  • If we want to keep living in the world we enjoy, we're gonna have to find a way to stop polluting so much.


  • Alternative fuels are great, but even the best one still pollute.


  • The only true solution to freeing ourselves from our gasoline addition, is to use 100% renewable energy.

    讓我們能真正擺脫對石油依賴的方法,就是使用 100% 的永續能源。

  • We look at the issues in the car world that affect you every week here on Wheelhouse, so hit that yellow subscribe button right there.

    我們每週都會在 Wheelhouse 上探討會影響到你的汽車問題,所以記得按下這裡的黃色訂閱按鈕。

  • While you're at it, check out this episode of Wheelhouse right here, and check out this sick episode of Up to Speed right around here.

    按完之後也可以點擊這裡來看看另外一集 Wheelhouse,然後點這裡看看這集 Up to Speed。

  • Be nice. See you next time.


A stubborn railroad man in Pennsylvania, spent years digging a hole as leering crowds yelled and ridiculed him.



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汽油的歷史和發明 | WheelHouse (The Bizarre History of Gasoline | WheelHouse)

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    林宜悉 發佈於 2022 年 01 月 17 日