Just how big is that BP (BP) oil spill anyway? The safe answer seems to be that it's worse than most people thought. As scientists collect more information about the leak in the Gulf of Mexico, the estimates keep rising, with the latest calculation Tuesday estimating a gush of 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil per day.

The current worst-case estimate equals an Exxon Valdez-sized spill about every four days, The New York Times points out. The calculation, from a government panel of scientists, is a far cry from the initial projection of 1,000 barrels a day, which grew to 5,000 barrels a day by the end of April, then to between 12,000 to 25,000 barrels per day in May. (Other estimates soared as high as 70,000 barrels.) Just last week, the panel again raised the flow-rate estimate to 25,000 to 30,000 barrels a day, while others projected as much as 50,000 barrels per day.

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