OWOE - Fossil Fuels - How long have petroleum products been used as an energy source?
How long have petroleum products been used as an energy source?
Topic updated: 2015-09-01
Petroleum, in one form or another, has been used since ancient times. There is evidence of oil being used as long as 4000 years ago when it was collected by hand from natural oil seeps. The commercial oil business in the United States is considered to have begun in 1859 in Pennsylvania when Edwin Drake drilled the first modern oil well. At that point "rock oil" as it was called began to replace whale oil as the primary fuel for lamps. The use of petroleum slowly began to replace other forms of fuel, primarily for lighting, and then grew dramatically with the rise of the transportation industry.