Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kerosene: Not Just a Fuel for the Jet Age

Long before gasoline and diesel came into widespread use, kerosene for lighting was the initial product which drove oil demand from 1859 until the early twentieth century. When oil transformed into a transportation fuel kerosene was repurposed to be used as jet fuel in the late 1930s.

Global demand for kerosene as a lighting fuel is now relatively tiny with almost all kero being used as jet fuel.

Kerosene is still used as a lighting fuel in rural India where 400 million people do not have access to mains electricity (population of the U.S. is just over 300 million). As you can see from the Wall Street Journal video below, kerosene in rural India is only now, 150 years after the start of the modern oil industry, being replaced by solar lanterns.

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