Nonrenewable Resource

DEFINITION of 'Nonrenewable Resource'

A resource of economic value that cannot be readily replaced by natural means on a level equal to its consumption. Most fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas and coal are considered nonrenewable resources in that their use is not sustainable because their formation takes billions of years.

BREAKING DOWN 'Nonrenewable Resource'

Nonrenewable resource fuels are still the primary source of all the power generated in the world due to their affordability and high energy content.

Besides the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels, the economic impact of nonrenewable resources can also be very damaging. As nonrenewable resources become more scarce, the cost to obtain them will continue to rise. Eventually, the price will hit a point that end users cannot afford, forcing a move toward alternative energy sources.

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