At present, within the UK, there are 8 oil refineries that are used to separate crude oil into different fuels which can then be used to power things such as vehicles, electrical items, generators and machinery. Of the many fuels that are extracted from crude oil; petrol and diesel are amongst the most commonly used fuels in everyday Briton & because of this, we now have a total of 8,500 forecourts scattered throughout the isle, with a multitude of corporations providing us with access to these fuels on a daily basis.
Despite a substantial drop in the number of forecourts within recent years, we are still consuming more oil than ever before. Every year, BP compile statistics from all over the world and presents them publicly to help educate and demonstrate to what extent we are consuming worldwide, while additionally exploring how much oil has been refined over the past year, which in turn helps us to ‘guesstimate’ the amount of crude oil reserves left. In 2009, these statistics showed that in the UK alone, we used just over 74 million tonnes of crude oil overall – an equivalent of around 2% of all oil consumed worldwide that year; with statistics for 2011 showing a similar trend. This information confirms that although the fuel prices have risen drastically over past years, individuals and companies alike are still prepared to pay a higher price to maintain access to their vehicles, that are still so vital within our everyday lives.
Although we often think of ourselves as trying to conserve fuel & attempt to become more aware of our consumption, it is obvious that we are more often than not, oblivious to how much we consume throughout the day and night. For example: leaving electronics on charge overnight, or putting a TV on standby instead of turning it off can waste a great deal of electricity throughout the year (of which, a large percentage is still produced from fossil fuels) – though in the moment we are unconscious of our over-usage of natural oil and helplessly consume.
Even when we are conscious of consumerism (e.g. while refuelling our vehicles), we are still oblivious to how much fuel the oil industry itself consumes, just to get this fuel to us. One example of this would be oil tankers – these are used to transport and import a majority of our crude oil and are capable of burning anything from 10,000 to 40,000 litres of crude oil per hour, pumping an average of 5,000 tonnes of sulphur into the atmosphere, each year.
“Twentysix Gasoline Stations” is a log of my travels to 26 different filling stations within a 26 mile radius of my postcode, which in a very basic concept explores the idea of consumption through the everyday face of oil companies: the forecourt – while logging my own consumption through the use of fuel & mileage. The project pays homage to Ed Ruscha’s infamous “Twentysix Gasoline Stations” project, presenting aesthetically pleasing night-time imagery of forecourts in order to provoke the viewer into looking at filling stations with a much deeper understanding and environmental mindset.