Understanding Energy Transfer and How to Access ItEven the great scientists of the world have to still adhere to basic laws and principles of physics as discovered many years ago. (Although modern discoveries leave reason to believe that these laws may not apply in all universes, but that topic of discussion is for a different day). So, the idea that energy cannot be created or destroyed holds true regardless of how highly effective the medium of harnessing that energy is.
This idea alludes many people who think that a power generator (be it nuclear, wind, or petroleum based) actually creates power from whatever is fed into it. Because the energy stored in petroleum or an unstable isotope is not exactly as flamboyant as the energy seen behind a rushing river or raging fire, it is easier to consider an electric generator as a feat of magic. Think back to high school physics class and remember the difference between kinetic and potential energy. It is the potential energy that is being tapped into within the petroleum, or even in that cream filled donut sitting on your desk. The generator (or your digestive system) is the tool that is used to convert the energy from potential to kinetic.
But it grows confusing when you wonder why an older car filled with the same amount of fuel (potential energy) is not able to travel as far as another, newer car. This is because of the efficiency of the system responsible for converting the energy. If the older car has parts that are more worn, more energy is required to move them (as they do not move smoothly, and more heat (energy) is lost in friction). If the car’s engine is not efficient at utilizing the heat and pressure resulting from the explosion within the pistons by the spark plug, then fuel that could have been used for another pump of the piston (as in re-uptake) is lost through the exhaust.