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Geeking Out - How Much Energy in a Gasoline Tanker?


Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2015
Clark Co, WA
I was out the other day and saw a double rig gasoline tanker on the freeway (one tank on the truck's chassis and a second trailer). They are a common sight on American roads, but I began thinking about how much energy was on board that truck.

I looked it up and tanker trucks range between 5500 and 11,600 US gallons of fuel. I assume the 11K gallons is for the double tanker. The EPA uses 33.7 KWh/Gallon, though the actual energy varies a bit depending on the blend and octane rating. But using that number I got 390 MWh of energy on that truck. Enough to drive an EV that gets 300 Wh/Mi 1.3 million miles!

Too bad there is no way to convert all that to energy without wasting 3/4 of the energy (OK you can probably get a bit better with something like a fuel cell, but the easily available means are all inefficient).

Doing a bit of a comparison, a Lincoln Navigator gets 19 MPG combined, that tanker would allow you to go 220,000 miles, which isn't bad until you consider even if you could only get 1/4 of the energy out of the gasoline converting it to electricity you'd still be able to get 325,000 miles out of an EV (at 300 Wh/Mi) on the same tanker.

Anyway, just musing about how much energy goes down the road every day.

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