Just how much energy will Santa Claus use this Christmas Eve?

He’s making his list, he’s checking it twice, and he’s going to find out who’s been naughty and nice. But what about Santa’s energy bill? He could do with checking that at least a couple of times.

According to one scientist, dear old St Nick will have 31 hours to deliver presents to around 378 million children due to the rotation of the earth. This means he will have to deliver gifts to over 822 houses per second, with his sleigh travelling at 650 miles per second to cope with the magnitude of the task – that’s 3000 times the speed of sound!

The weight of all the presents in Santa’s sleigh complicates matters. If each child in the world was allocated one present weighing less than 2lbs, the sleigh would still weigh around the same amount as the Empire State Building – which would need 214,200 reindeer to pull. But (and this is a big but) the weight and speed of the sleigh would cause the reindeer to burst into flames almost immediately.

Could this sleigh carry the weight of the Empire State Building?

Another scientist adds that 9.3 million MegaWatts of energy would be needed to power Santa’s sleigh in order to get around the world in one evening while carrying presents. To have any hope of making this amount of energy, you would need 414 of the world’s biggest power stations.

Now, say Santa was to use petrol to power his sleigh instead of magic, he would need 30 million litres of the stuff. If he bought this petrol from the UK, it would cost around £36 million.

10 litres down, 29,999,990 litres to go

He would also need 540 million litres of raw oats to feed his reindeer in order to harvest enough energy for them to travel so far at such a speed. This would set him back a whopping £40m. Add that to the £280 billion he’s already spent on presents* and he’s sitting on a pretty hefty credit card bill. We may not be able to prove that he’s real, but at least we can conclude that Santa would be a billionaire with a supersonic sleigh that is faster than any man-made vehicle ever made, and his reindeer can eat 540 million litres of oats in just one night…

Got any more oats boss?

If we could meet him and shake his hand, we’d be sure to tell Santa to at least monitor his energy use back at the grotto with the help of our money saving My Energy tool. It lets you monitor your energy use, offering tons of tips and tricks for reducing your energy bills.

*Figure courtesy of a team of scientists from The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers