6 Major Pros and Cons of Fossil Fuels

6 Major Pros and Cons of Fossil Fuels

by / Comments Off / 487 View / Dec 30, 2014

There are many types of energy sources that are in existence. Determining the best type is not always easy. This issue is debated among even those most familiar with the topic. Fossil fuels are considered by some to be one of the best energy sources, but others only focus on the negative aspects of this fuel type. Taking a closer look at fossil fuels allows you to gain a better understanding for the pros and cons revolving around it.

What are Fossil Fuels?

Fossil fuels are defined as any fuels that are formed under the earth’s surface by ancient plants and animals. This means there is not just one singular type of fossil fuel. This type of energy source is defined as non-renewable and is extracted from the ground. The process of extracting fossil fuels from the ground is quite complex, but these fuels are then used to power electricity and fuel for vehicles. The 3 primary types of fossil fuels that most people are familiar with include coal, oil and natural gas. There are a lot of concerns that arise when the issue of fossil fuels is raised. Many of these concerns center on environmental ramifications, supply demands, cost and a number of other issues.

History of Fossil Fuels

It is important to understand that fossil fuels are formed under the earth’s surface over very long periods of time. This occurs as ancient plants and animals die, which leads to organic matter breaking down. This organic matter was at one time living, so it breaks down over time and becomes hidden beneath the earth’s surface. These fossil fuels are then formed when heat and pressure collide under the many layers of sediment. It is also important to note that most oil and gas deposits are different from coal deposits, because they form in places where marine organisms have been buried. However, coal deposits form as a result of plants on land decomposing beneath the earth’s surface. High moisture is often required for coal fossil fuel to be formed.

Now it is time to delve deeper into the topic of fossil fuels by further examining the pros and cons. Many of the concerns surrounding fossil fuels are not as black and white as they might seem.

Pros of Fossil Fuels:

Well Developed
The process of extracting fossil fuels is reliant on technology that has been well-developed over time. Not only is it much simpler to extract these fossil fuels, but harnessing this energy is also becoming more and more effective with time. Powering homes, businesses and vehicles is what fossil fuels have been providing the world for many decades.

One of the most profound advantages of fossil fuels is the cost. The technology to use fossil fuels exists and the cost of extracting this energy source from the earth’s surface is relatively low. However, as time goes on it is majority opinion that the cost will eventually rise. This will be the result of stricter government regulation and air quality controls.

This energy source is also known to be incredibly reliable, which can’t be said of other energy sources including wind and solar.

Right now, fossil fuels account for more than 85% of the energy used. This is an advantage for the economy, if you look at the profits that can be gained through this market. The only downside is that at this rate of consumption, tapping into reserves is unavoidable. This is due to the fact that it is a non-renewable energy source.

Even though there are many positive associated with fossil fuels, they are a few negatives.

Cons of Fossil Fuels:

Environmental Impact
When it comes to examining any type of energy source, it is always essential to take a close look that the environmental impact. The major negative associated with fossil fuels is that they directly impact the environment. There is irreparable damage done to habitats and marine environments during the extraction of fossil fuels. It is also important to understand that fossil fuels emit hazardous gases into the environment that can lead to adverse breathing conditions. Direct pollution can also be caused as a result of oil spills. If you look at the use of fossil fuels from an environmental perspective it is difficult to see any positives.

Fossil fuels are defined as a non-renewable energy source. This can be broken down into the simpler understanding that the supply is limited. This means that fossil fuels can’t be replaced. The one good aspect is that there are large amounts of oil, coal and natural gas deposits that are available currently. The waste of the fossil fuels can’t be recycled or regained, which is not an advantage.

By comparing the pros with the cons, you get to take a closer look at fossil fuels.