US state consumes half of the oil in the Amazon rainforest
California drivers refuel Amazon’s oil at gas stations operated by big brands like Marathon, Chevron, and Shell. The top-consuming brand in 2020 was Marathon (339 million gallons), according to the report, but it still dragged unbranded gasoline (479 million).
Motorists also buy petroleum from Amazon at supermarket gas stations in places like Costco, Safeway, and Walmart. These companies also use them for their fleets. Last year, Costco was Amazon’s top oil consumer (19 million gallons), according to the report.
Major airlines operating in California consumed a total of 123 million gallons of jet fuel from the Amazon last year. The main consumer was American Airlines (31 million gallons) followed by United (30.05 million gallons) and Delta (30 million gallons), according to the report.
PepsiCo (4 million gallons) was Amazon’s largest consumer of diesel among food and beverage delivery companies. Among parcel delivery companies, Amazon (13.3 million gallons) slightly exceeded UPS (13.1 million gallons) and FedEx (12 million).
The report urged business leaders not to call for any further oil expansion in the Amazon and to set “aggressive targets for the use of electric vehicles and other strategies designed to reduce fossil fuel consumption.”
NBC News has contacted all of the companies named in this story. Delta was the only one to comment, saying the company is working to switch from jet fuel to sustainable aviation fuel and hopes to make it 10% of the global fuel supply by 2030.
Ed Hirs, an energy researcher at the University of Houston, said he was not surprised that such a large amount of oil from the Amazon ends up in California given its proximity.
“It’s probably just the cost of transportation,” Hirs said. “It’s seven or eight days for California” from Ecuador “as opposed to weeks from the Middle East.”
Hirs said the report highlights a harsh reality of the global oil market: even if California stops consuming crude from the Amazon, another country will simply take its place.
“I can’t dispute what they are talking about in terms of damage and environmental issues,” Hirs said. “Is that a problem? Absolutely. Can California do something about it? No. For 50 cents more a barrel, that oil would just go somewhere else.”
Robertson said she and her colleagues are not asking California to immediately stop using Amazon oil, but she hopes government officials and business leaders take action to reduce their dependence on the oil. part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
“It’s in the realm of the possible, and it’s part of the necessary,” said Robertson. “It should become something that is at the heart of California’s climate crisis strategy.”
Santiago Cornejo reported from Ecuador. Rich Schapiro and Christine Romo reported from New York.