I asked the electrician why there was such a difference between the two types of wires but never got an answer other than "It's code".
So when I had my earth ground installed in my panel, 2 ground rods ~4 feet apart with a 10 gauge wire connected between them and the panel.
At the same time he installed bonding for the hot, cold, and gas pipes - but for this he used like 5 twisted strand 10 gauge wires - it was a HUGE copper cable.
When I asked why the bonding got the big cables and the earth ground got the single 10 gauge he mentioned that 10 gauge is really all that is required for good solid ground and that's what code called for. But he didn't really explain why the bonding required such massive wires. It's not like I think he cheated me on the copper, I trust the company he works for and he did very good frugal work in the panel. I just kind of want to know - why the difference in size? If anything I would expect the situation to be reversed, the massive cable to the ground rods and the small wire to the pipes.