An annoying unit loved by the oil community, along with the ton of oil.
Why can’t they stick to one unit? A barrel of oil is 6.1 GJ or 1700 kWh.

Barrels are doubly annoying because there are multiple definitions of
barrels, all having different volumes.

Here’s everything you need to know about barrels of oil. One barrel is
42 U.S. gallons, or 159 litres. One barrel of oil is 0.1364 tons of oil. One
barrel of crude oil has an energy of 5.75 GJ. One barrel of oil weighs 136 kg.
One ton of crude oil is 7.33 barrels and 42.1 GJ. The carbon-pollution rate of
crude oil is 400 kg of CO2 per barrel.
. This means that when the price of oil is $100 per barrel, oil energy
costs 6¢ per kWh. If there were a carbon tax of $250 per ton of CO2 on fossil
fuels, that tax would increase the price of a barrel of oil by $100.


The gallon would be a fine human-friendly unit, except the Yanks messed
it up by defining the gallon differently from everyone else, as they did
the pint and the quart. The US volumes are all roughly five-sixths of the
correct volumes.

1 US gal = 3.785 l = 0.83 imperial gal. 1 imperial gal = 4.545 l.


Tons are annoying because there are short tons, long tons and metric tons.
They are close enough that I don’t bother distinguishing between them. 1
short ton (2000 lb) = 907 kg; 1 long ton (2240 lb) = 1016 kg; 1 metric ton (or
tonne) = 1000 kg.

BTU and quads

British thermal units are annoying because they are neither part of the
Système Internationale, nor are they of a useful size. Like the useless joule,
they are too small, so you have to roll out silly prefixes like “quadrillion”
(1015) to make practical use of them.

1 kJ is 0.947 BTU. 1 kWh is 3409 BTU.

A “quad” is 1 quadrillion BTU = 293 TWh.

Funny units

Cups of tea

Is this a way to make solar panels sound good? “Once all the 7 000 pho-
tovoltaic panels are in place, it is expected that the solar panels will create
180 000 units of renewable electricity each year – enough energy to make
nine million cups of tea.” This announcement thus equates 1 kWh to 50
cups of tea.