Wikimedia CommonsLast week was a bad one for oil infrastructure.
On Wednesday, three train cars carrying oil through Minnesota leaked or spilled between 20,000 to 30,000 gallons of crude oil.
Then Friday evening, a pipeline malfunction in Arkansas forced hundreds of residents to evacuate and left oil “running down the road like a river.”
Some environmentalists are using these incidents to argue the dangers of transporting large amounts of fuel.
However, the data shows that spills happen in greater volumes when smaller amounts of oil are being moved.
Look at this table from Dr. Dagmar Etkin of Environmental Research Consulting showing gallons spilled into inland waterways per billion gallons transported. Neither rail nor pipelines is No. 1.
Dr. Dagmar Etkin/Environmental Research ConsultingInstead, plain old road transport is the greatest culprit for spills — 37 gallons for every billion gallons transported.
It’s possible these numbers are now outdated (they’re from 1980 to 2003).
But based on this data, it seems to be a mistake to assume that spills can be reduced by just transporting smaller amounts of it at a time.
NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.