The Most Popular Fossil Fuel: Ranking the Top Choices

Choose the Fossil Fuel you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 12, 2024 07:08
Welcome to StrawPoll's latest exciting ranking - "What is the most popular Fossil Fuel?" As we journey through this ever-evolving world of energy, we want to hear your thoughts on the fossil fuels that have fueled our past, present, and possibly future. From the deep, dark depths of coal mines to the vast, untapped potential of natural gas, we've gathered the top contenders to compete for the title of the ultimate Fossil Fuel. So, ignite your passion for energy resources and make your voice heard by voting for your favorite fossil fuel or suggesting an overlooked option. Together, let's uncover the hidden gems of the fossil fuel world and shed light on the energy sources that continue to power our lives. Don't let your curiosity extinguish; dive in and explore the fascinating world of fossil fuels with StrawPoll!

What Is the Most Popular Fossil Fuel?

  1. 1
    Petroleum (crude oil) it is the most widely used fossil fuel in the world, used for transportation, heating, and electricity generation.
    Petroleum, also known as crude oil, is a naturally occurring fossil fuel composed of hydrocarbon deposits found beneath the Earth's surface. It is formed over millions of years from the remains of plants and marine organisms, which have undergone heat and pressure under sedimentary rock layers. This process results in the formation of a complex mixture of organic compounds that are extracted to produce various petroleum products.
    • Composition: Complex mixture of hydrocarbons, including methane, ethane, propane, and various other organic compounds
    • Energy Content: High energy density fuel, containing approximately 5.8 million BTUs per barrel
    • Refining: Requires refining processes to separate impurities and obtain useful products like gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and various petrochemicals
    • Usage: Primary source of energy for transportation, electricity generation, heating, and industrial processes
    • Global Reserves: Vast reserves present worldwide, with major reserves found in countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States
  2. 2
    Coal it is the most abundant and inexpensive fossil fuel, used for electricity generation and industrial processes.
    Coal is a fossil fuel formed from the remains of plants that lived and died millions of years ago. It is a black or brownish-black sedimentary rock that is primarily composed of carbon, along with various other elements such as hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen.
    • Energy Content: High energy density, with a calorific value typically ranging from 24-35 MJ/kg.
    • Availability: Abundantly found in various parts of the world, with major reserves located in the United States, Russia, China, and Australia.
    • Cost: Relatively inexpensive compared to other energy sources.
    • Electricity Generation: Used extensively for electricity production in coal-fired power plants.
    • Industrial Applications: Used as a fuel in various industries, including steel, cement, and chemical production.
  3. 3
    Natural Gas it is a versatile fossil fuel used for electricity generation, heating, and cooking. It is also a cleaner-burning fuel compared to coal and oil.
    Natural gas is a fossil fuel composed mainly of methane gas, along with small amounts of other hydrocarbons. It is a combustible and cleaner-burning energy source compared to other fossil fuels. Natural gas is primarily formed deep beneath the Earth's surface through the decomposition of organic matter. It can be found in underground reservoirs or associated with other fossil fuel deposits, such as oil. It is commonly used for heating, electricity generation, and as a fuel for vehicles.
    • Chemical Composition: Mainly composed of methane (CH4), with smaller amounts of ethane (C2H6), propane (C3H8), and butane (C4H10), among others.
    • Energy Content: Varies but typically ranges from 900 to 1,100 British thermal units per cubic foot (BTU/cf).
    • Availability: Abundant reserves globally, with major producers including the United States, Russia, Iran, and Qatar.
    • Transportation: Usually transported by pipeline infrastructure, but can also be liquefied for easier storage and transportation.
    • Environmental Impact: Produces lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions compared to coal and oil when burned, but still contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
    Natural Gas in other rankings
  4. 4
    Propane it is a byproduct of natural gas processing and refining. It is commonly used for heating, cooking, and as a fuel for vehicles.
    Propane is a colorless and odorless gas that is produced as a byproduct of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. It is commonly used as a fuel source for heating, cooking, and various other applications. Propane is stored in pressurized tanks and is known for its high energy output and clean-burning properties. It is widely available and relatively affordable, making it a popular choice for both residential and commercial uses.
    • Chemical Formula: C3H8
    • Molecular Weight: 44.10 grams/mole
    • Boiling Point: -42.1°C (-43.8°F)
    • Melting Point: -187.7°C (-305.9°F)
    • Density: 0.493 grams/cm³
  5. 5
    Diesel it is a type of petroleum used as a fuel for heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks and buses.
    Diesel is a popular brand of jeans known for its high-quality denim and modern, edgy designs. Started in 1978 by Renzo Rosso, Diesel quickly gained a reputation for its innovative approach to jeans, combining Italian craftsmanship with a rock 'n' roll aesthetic. With a focus on unconventional washes, distressed details, and bold branding, Diesel has become synonymous with a rebellious and fashion-forward attitude.
    • Fabric: High-quality denim
    • Design style: Modern, edgy
    • Craftsmanship: Italian
    • Washes: Unconventional
    • Details: Distressed
  6. 6
    Jet fuel it is a type of petroleum used as a fuel for airplanes.
    Jet fuel is a type of highly refined, liquid fuel specifically designed for use in jet engines. It is a highly efficient and powerful fuel that enables jet aircraft to travel at high speeds and altitudes. Jet fuel is typically derived from crude oil through a refining process known as fractional distillation. It undergoes various treatments and additives to meet specific performance requirements and ensure maximum safety and performance for aviation purposes.
    • Chemical Composition: Jet fuel is primarily made up of hydrocarbon molecules derived from crude oil.
    • Flash Point: The flash point of jet fuel is typically above 38°C (100°F) for safety reasons.
    • Density: The density of jet fuel is around 0.78 - 0.84 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³).
    • Octane Rating: Jet fuel does not have an octane rating, as it is not used in spark-ignition engines.
    • Freezing Point: Jet fuel's freezing point is usually around -40°C to -47°C (-40°F to -53°F).
  7. 7
    Tar Sands
    Michael C. Rygel · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Tar Sands it is a mixture of sand, clay, water, and bitumen (a thick, heavy oil). It is a source of petroleum used for transportation and industrial processes.
    Tar sands (or oil sands) refer to a type of unconventional oil deposit that consists of a mixture of sand, water, clay, and a heavy viscous form of petroleum known as bitumen. The extraction and processing of this resource involve complex and energy-intensive methods.
    • Geographical Distribution: Primarily found in Canada, specifically in the province of Alberta.
    • Bitumen Content: Tar sands contain a high concentration of bitumen, ranging from 1 to 20 percent.
    • Environmental Impact: The extraction and processing of tar sands have significant environmental consequences, including deforestation, water contamination, greenhouse gas emissions, and habitat disturbance.
    • Energy Intensive: The extraction and processing methods require substantial amounts of energy, making it more carbon-intensive compared to conventional oil drilling.
    • Economic Importance: Tar sands industry contributes to employment and economic growth in the regions where they are found, particularly in Canada.
  8. 8
    Oil shale it is a sedimentary rock containing organic matter that can be converted into oil through heating. It is a potential source of petroleum used for transportation and industrial processes.
    Oil shale is a sedimentary rock containing a solid organic material called kerogen. It has the potential to be used as a source of oil through a process called retorting. This rock is found in various regions around the world and represents a significant unconventional energy resource.
    • Formation: Oil shale forms through the deposition of organic-rich sediment in specific conditions over millions of years.
    • Kerogen content: Oil shale contains significant amounts of kerogen, a solid organic material that can be converted into oil.
    • Resource abundance: There are vast deposits of oil shale worldwide, with estimates suggesting enormous potential oil reserves.
    • Extraction process: Oil shale extraction involves heating the rock to high temperatures (retorting) to release oil and gas.
    • Energy content: Oil shale typically has a high energy content, comparable to or higher than that of conventional crude oil.
  9. 9
    Peat it is a precursor to coal formed from partially decomposed plant material. It is used as a fuel for heating and electricity generation.
    Peat is a type of fossil fuel formed from partially decayed plant material in wetland environments. It is commonly found in bogs and swamps. Peat is essentially the precursor to coal, as it undergoes further transformation over millions of years. It is widely used for heating and electricity generation.
    • Formation: Partially decayed plant material
    • Location: Bogs and swamps
    • Usage: Heating and electricity generation
    • Energy content: Low compared to other fossil fuels
    • Carbon content: High
  10. 10
    Lignite it is a type of coal with low energy content and high moisture content. It is used for electricity generation and industrial processes.
    Lignite is a type of coal that is considered the lowest rank of coal due to its relatively low carbon content and energy density. It is formed from compressed layers of plant material that have been exposed to intense pressure and heat over millions of years. Lignite is typically brown or black in color and has a high moisture content, which can make it less efficient as a fuel compared to other types of coal.
    • Carbon Content: 25-35%
    • Energy Density: 6-19 million British thermal units per ton
    • Moisture Content: 25-60%
    • Ash Content: 6-20%
    • Sulfur Content: 0.5-5%

Missing your favorite Fossil Fuel?


Ranking factors for popular Fossil Fuel

  1. Consumption rates
    Track the global consumption rates of each fossil fuel. The higher the consumption, the more popular the fossil fuel.
  2. Market share
    Determine the market share of each fossil fuel within the energy sector.
  3. Availability and abundance
    Consider the availability of each fossil fuel and its abundance globally. Resources that are more abundant and readily available are likely to be more popular.
  4. Energy output
    The amount of energy each fossil fuel generates per unit volume or weight. The more efficient a fuel, the more popular it may be.
  5. Cost of production and price
    Compare the costs to produce and refine each fossil fuel, as well as their market prices. Lower production costs and prices usually make a fuel more popular.
  6. Infrastructure and distribution
    Evaluate the existing infrastructure and distribution networks for each fossil fuel. More developed infrastructure and distribution systems could contribute to a higher popularity.
  7. Technological advancements
    Consider the impact of technological advancements in extraction, production, and usage of each fossil fuel on their popularity.
  8. Environmental impact
    Assess the environmental impact of each fossil fuel, including greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, and potential oil spills. Greater public awareness of a fossil fuel's environmental impact could impact its popularity.
  9. Regulations and policies
    Examine the influence of government regulations and policies on the production, distribution, and use of each fossil fuel, which can have a direct impact on their popularity.
  10. Geopolitical factors
    Geopolitical events and global market dynamics can impact the demand for specific fossil fuels, altering their popularity over time.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Fossil Fuel. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Fuel is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 183 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Fuel once every 24 hours. The rank of each Fuel is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular fossil fuel

Fossil fuels are the backbone of the world's energy supply, powering everything from cars and trucks to factories and homes. They are formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals that were buried deep beneath the earth's surface over millions of years. The most popular fossil fuels include coal, oil, and natural gas, which are all widely used to generate electricity and fuel transportation. Despite their importance to modern society, fossil fuels are also a major source of environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change and other environmental problems. As the world looks for ways to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and transition to cleaner forms of energy, the debate over their use and impact continues to be a hotly contested issue.

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