I've recently seen the movie Collapse. They make many claims about oil and an hypothetical global collapse when it runs low.

In this movie, Michael Ruppert says that a simple car tire needs 7 US gallons (~ 26 liters) of oil. He then quickly concludes that the electrical car is joke, because it needs too much oil in order to be built.

Is there any fact or study about this matter? Do we know how much oil is needed for building a tire and a car?

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    @Marc, it gets more complex when you read that (a) 2 of those gallons are to power the process (and hence are subject to replacement by other power sources) and (b) 70% of rubber is natural (Is it suitable for tyres? Can natural production be increased in an ecologically friendly way?) Also, an electric car, per se, doesn't reduce fossil fuel use unless the local electrical power supplies are changed from fossil fuel to other sources.
    – Oddthinking
    Mar 19, 2012 at 9:17
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    @Oddthinking yes, fully understood. I did say it wasn't complete enough! Re "reduce", you'd also need to consider the energy efficiency values of the engine+petrol+distribution vs power-station+cables+power-cells+motor, plus have details of fabrication overheads. Reminds me of a similar discussion (re "green" power) at college, which ended abruptly when someone (an arts/language student) stated with a straight face that power stations "catch lightning" - it was hard to continue the discussion due to the laughter. Mar 19, 2012 at 9:33
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    @Coren, yes. The key paper he cites covers production, though.
    – Oddthinking
    Mar 19, 2012 at 10:58
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    Re electric cars: Yes, you still have to generate the electricity, but once your car is electric it doesn't matter how you generate the electricity: changing from coal to cow-dung to fusion becomes completely transparent.. And Michael Ruppert's argument is illogical: if you stop burning oil to move your cars, you've got more of it left to make things with.
    – Benjol
    Mar 22, 2012 at 12:29
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    Benjol makes a good point. If your electric car is "dirty" because of the energy source (it's still less dirty than combustion, even using coal-generated power), as the generating sources become "greener," the electric car automatically does too, without any retrofitting or upgrades needed. Also, it takes seven gallons of "oil." The fact that most tire manufacturers use crude oil does not mean that is the required option for tires. Finally, "it takes too much oil to make an electric car" - doesn't a gas-using car also use that amount in manufacture? Anyway - Nokian makes canola oil tires. Oct 19, 2016 at 14:40


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