Burning OUR past
For each gallon of fossil fuel we burn in cars and other motors, 98 tons of prehistoric, buried plant material is required. The study conducted at the University of Utah by Ecologist Jeff Dukes, also calculated that the amount of fossil fuel burned in the year of 1997 (the year used in the study) totaled 97 million billion pounds of carbon, which is equivalent to more than 400 times all the plant matter that grows in the world in a year, including vast amounts of microscopic plant life in the oceans.
In another calculation, Dukes determined that the amount of plant material that went into the fossil fuels burned since the Industrial Revolution began (1751) is equal to all the plants grown on Earth over 13,300 years.
Science Daily Oct 27 2003