Categories: Renewables

10 Differences Between Exhaustible and Inexhaustible Resources, with Examples.

What Differentiates Exhaustible from Inexhaustible Resources?

First off, you should understand what ‘exhaustible’ and inexhaustible’ mean: According to the Cambridge dictionary, inexhaustible means “something existing in very great amounts that will never be finished” while the exhaustible means “something that can be used completely, so there are none left”. From these definitions, you must have gotten a glimpse of what exhaustible and inexhaustible resources are. But, there is more to it.

Exhaustible resources can be defined as the resources that can get depleted or exhausted as they mostly exist in limited supply. Examples of exhaustible resources are coal and fossil fuel. When most of these resources are used up, they can’t be renewed easily or take a too long time to renew.

On the other hand, inexhaustible resources can be defined as the resources that can’t be exhausted or used up as they exist in abundant and endless supply. Examples are wind and sunlight (solar). From every theoretical indication, the inexhaustible resources can’t be used up by humans. These resources are also inexhaustible because they can easily be renewed within a reasonable period of time. Learn more about inexhaustible resources.

Comparison Chart for Exhaustible and Inexhaustible Resources

S/NExhaustible ResourcesInexhaustible Resources
1These resources are limited in supply. That. they are available in limited quantities.Most of these resources are in endless supply. They are in abundance.
2They can be used upThey can’t be used up
3They can’t easily be replenished when used up. Basically, they are mostly non-renewable.They can easily be replenished. In other words, they are mostly renewable.
4Examples are coal, gas, crude oil, Mineral resources (limestone, iron, copper, aluminum), etc.Examples are Sunlight (solar), wind, water, biomass, geothermal, atmosphere, waves, tides, etc.
5The use of these resources is mostly not environmentally friendly, as they are used improperly and inefficiently.The use of these resources is mostly clean and can cause far less environmental pollution than exhaustible resources.
6Most of these resources can be monopolisedMost of these resources are free for anyone to harness. They can’t be monopolized.
7The resources have to be extracted before they can be used.Many of these resources don’t require extraction.
8They mostly have to undergo a conversion process before they can be used.They can be used directly without conversion. However, they will have to undergo conversion.
9The cost of most of these resources is higher than that of inexhaustible resources.Comparatively, the cost of these resources is lower. In fact, many of these resources don’t require a cent or kobo to use.
10They mostly exist in sold or liquid forms. So, they can be moved from one place to the other.Most of these resources exist in unmovable forms. So, you can’t move them from one place to the other.
Table: Difference between exhaustible and inexhaustible resources

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Are natural gases exhaustible or inexhaustible?

Natural gas is example of fossil fuel, and all fossil fuels are exhaustible and non-renewable.


Moshood is a Power system maintenance engineer, who has educated college students on Physics and Mathematics. He currently helps design and install solar power systems. His passion for writing is geared towards educating others on energy and electrical power systems.