Fossil fuels formed 300 million years ago during the Carboniferous Period, a time before the dinosaurs, according to Kidzworld. Fossil fuels comprise plant and animal remains that became buried under the earth.
Oil is also known as petroleum, and it is sucked from the ground and sent to tankers and pipelines. The oil is transported to refineries, where it is converted into jet fuel, gasoline and diesel fuel. Oil is also burned to create gases that generate electricity at power plants and factories.
Natural gas is pumped in the same manner as oil, and it is found near oil reserves. The gas is lighter than air, and it is made from methane. Methane is made of hydrogen atoms and carbon. Natural gas is highly flammable and odorless. A chemical is added to the gas to give it an odor that smells like rotten eggs to alert people by its smell. Once the chemical is added, the gas is sent to homes for heating and cooking, and factories use it to generate electricity.
Coal is another fossil fuel; it sometimes looks like black rocks. It is used to produce half of the energy in the United States. Coal is mined from the ground and transported to power plants by train. At the power plants, the coal is burned to create steam. The steam powers turbines and creates electricity.