Which Fossil Fuels give off most Carbon Dioxide? What are the worst Fossil Fuels?

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In order to assess how our daily actions affect the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and contribute to our carbon footprint it is important to know which of the fossil fuels and other fuels we release are the most harmful to our planet, we can assess this by examining which fossil fuels give off most CO2 in order to find what are the worst fossil fuels. Below is a table showing the many fossil fuels and fuels we use on a daily basis and how much CO2 they release per British thermal unit (Btu), therefore showing us which fossil fuels give off most carbon dioxide and the worst fossil fuels. Below that is a breakdown of where some of the fossil fuels in the table are used, how much fossil fuel we use, and how it furthers climate change.


Natural Gas – If you have a gas hob or oven, you are likely to see this in action every day. It is the gas that comes out and is burnt to heat and cook out food. Natural gas is also used for central heating systems.

Liquefied Petroleum – This can be used to power automobiles and is cleaner than standard automobile gasoline, but not better than hybrid vehicles. LPG is also often used as a cooking fuel in many countries like India and Brazil.

Propane – Often used in cooking on BBQ’s and portable stoves used when camping and caravanning. Due to its infrequent domestic use, this isn’t a huge carbon emitter and contributor to climate change for the general homeowner.

Aviation Fuel – For the amount of energy aviation fuel produces, it is not one of the worst CO2 emitters. The problem here is that a huge amount of aviation fuel is burnt to keep a plane flying. A return flight from London to New York for example puts almost as much CO2 into the atmosphere as a small car for a whole year!

Automobile Gasoline – Worshipped by the west, this is what runs our automobiles of all kinds.

Kerosene – Used for cooking, heating and lighting around the world.

Wood – Quite a large emitter of CO2 in relation to its Btu, however, if wood comes from sustainable sources it is renewable. All the CO2 released when burnt has already been soaked up when it was a tree and is then soaked up again when a tree is replanted in its place.

Coal – Coal is by far the dirtiest fossil fuel, and gives off most carbon dioxide which is especially worrying as we have more coal left in the world than any other fossil fuel. You can read How much fossil fuels are left in the world by clicking here.

Petroleum Coke – Widely used to generate electricity and one of the worst CO2 emitters.