Advantages and Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels

Advantages and Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels


Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. They are deposits of combustible geologic organic materials, from decayed animals and plants which have been converted to crude oil, natural gas or coal through exposure to heat and pressure that is found in the earth’s crust over millions of years. This essay will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels.

Today, man meets his daily energy needs using coal, natural gas and petroleum. Importantly, the demand for energy will never drop, with burgeoning population all over the world. With this demand, the world is finding fossil fuels a major source of energy. However, over dependence on these sources of energy can lead to devastating environmental effects like pollution. In addition, they emit harmful gases into the atmosphere resulting into severe consequences on natural habitat. Since fossils once existed, it implies that they are nonrenewable and will be depleted.

Advantages and Disadvantages of fossil fuels today

Fossil fuels offer a wide range of advantages and disadvantages. Let us look at each category at a time. The first advantage of fossils as a source of energy is convenience. They are widely preferred all over the world because they have the capacity to generate large amounts of energy. They are highly combustible, making them better than other fuels in the world today. They are also easy to locate and transport. Therefore, the cost of transport is low, which makes them a better option.

Another advantage is cost and availability. Their low cost is a leading positive aspect, which appeals to human beings. Fossil fuels are cheap because they are highly abundant, which reduces the cost of drilling and mining as opposed to other fuels. For example, coal is one of the most abundant fossil fuels in the world. With modern and advanced technology, it is easy to efficiently extract and use fossil fuels.

The advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels depend on their efficiency, cost and impact on the environment. Critics of fossil fuels argue that they are a major cause of environmental pollution. In other words, fossil fuels are an environmental hazard, threatening current and future generations. The use of these fuels leads to buildup of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere, leading to global warming.

Environmental effects of fossil fuels

As already, mentioned, fossil fuels are harming the natural habitat. Today, the world is grappling with climate change because of burning fossil fuels. While humanity remains optimistic of finding a lasting solution to this global scourge, its effects remain real and catastrophic. If the trend continues, it is doubtless that fossil fuels will go into the annals of history as one of the worst mistakes of humanity.

Another disadvantage of fossil fuels is the risk in mining coal. Even with advancement in technology, coal mining remains dangerous and harmful to the environment. Coal mining turns pristine land into a rugged landscape that can hardly support life. Today, man is cutting down the peaks of some of the well-known mountains in the world to access coal with ease.

Moreover, fossil fuels are causing acid rain. For instance, burning fossils leads to emission of acidic gases like sulfur dioxide into atmosphere. This results into acid rain when this gas dissolves in water droplets. The effects of acid rain are far-reaching. From environmental issues to health hazards, man suffers today because of this rain. It leads to corrosion of iron sheets and may cause skin cancer. Other advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels depend on their reliability when compared to other sources of energy in the world.


It is clear that the advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels are endless. Let us discuss more merits and demerits of these sources of energy. Firstly, fossil fuels are very stable because carbon and hydrogen are the main elements that make their molecules. Since they do not form other compounds when exposed to air, fossil fuels are easy to store for a long time.

They also produce high calorific value. When fossil fuels burn, they generate more energy as compared to other fuels, making them more effective. However, fossil fuels harm aquatic life. When the world experiences acid rain, this water drains into water bodies like lakes, seas and oceans, and threaten the lives of aquatic animals like fish.


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