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Drilling for Oil and Then Burning it is Peculiarly Efficient

Yesterday I wrote a post about how expensive car batteries are. Today Brad Plumer has a post about clean energy subsidies and how they're fading out. These two things together reminded me about an energy factoid that's always struck me as slightly odd: virtually every form of energy seems to be almost as efficient as burning oil, but not quite. For example, on either a power/weight basis or a cost basis, batteries are maybe 2x or 3x bigger and less efficient than an internal combustion engine.
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