Optimism about alternative energy and debates about oil, gas, and coal tend to cause the advantages of fossil fuels to be overlooked. These energy sources are not perfect, but they do fulfill a variety of needs such as providing fuel for heating and transportation. They are also advantageous because they are generally efficient and cheap.
Since fossil fuels have been in use for a long time, people in those industries can generally rely on functioning processes of dealing with these materials. There are methods of discovering, retrieving, and refining these materials that people are generally confident about. There is also technology that already exists to use those materials. This is one of the main advantages of fossil fuels.
Most vehicles, for example, already use petroleum. If other sources of energy are used to power vehicles, many changes will likely be necessary. The way that vehicles operate may need to be adjusted. It is also very likely that the facilities that produce the vehicles will need to be redesigned or reequipped. Furthermore, fueling stations are also likely to need redesigning, if they are not completely eliminated.
The same probabilities exist in other situations. If the use of fossil fuel was eliminated or greatly reduced, home heating systems, power plants, and factories would likely need to be changed. Since so many items are already designed to operate with oil, gas, and coal, it is an advantage to continue using them.
Consumers are also generally comfortable with fossil fuels and confident about what they will do. This means that people will typically invest in the products that they need if they have the money. It is often difficult to get masses of people to change something that is working for something that will allegedly work better. If large scale changes to alternative energy sources were implemented, consumer skepticism could have negative impacts on businesses in those markets or on the economy.
Fossil fuels generate large amounts of money. These materials provide the bulk of some countries' revenue. Related industries also provide jobs around the globe, ranging from mining to pumping fuel at full service stations.
Another of the primary advantages of fossil fuels is that these items are generally considered to be efficient and economic. Many of the options that are suggested as alternatives for coal, gas, and fuel are much more expensive. In addition to being expensive, many of these options require large amounts of materials or resources but produce less energy than a similar amount of fossil fuels.
The relative ease of transporting and distributing oil, gas, and coal is also one of advantages of fossil fuels. Vehicles and pipes are generally sufficient for these tasks. Other energy sources can involve materials that are less understood and more expensive to install and maintain.