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What’s Really In A Barrel Of Oil?

Posted in Environment, General, Oil Industry by Kurt Ernst | May 12th, 2010 | Leave a Reply |

A barrel of oil holds 44 gallons of crude, but what is that crude oil turned into? The folks at The Daily Green recently took a look at what happens to those 44 gallons of crude, as illustrated by the above chart. It’s pretty clear that a barrel of oil gives us 18.56 gallons of gasoline, 10.31 gallons of diesel and 4.07 gallons of jet fuel, but what about the “Other Products” category? What does seven gallons of crude oil from every barrel go into making?

Some things won’t come as a surprise, since everyone knows that petroleum is used to make plastics. Did you know that it’s used to make antifreeze? How about anesthetics? Petroleum based products are used to preserve food, make medicines (cortisone and antihistamines, to name two), create paints for cars and houses and even create detergents to clean the stuff we get grease on. Synthetic rubber? Oil based. Glycerin? Made with oil.

Even when we do find a viable replacement for oil to power our vehicles, heat our houses and generate electricity, it’s going to be a while before we shed our overall dependence on petroleum products in our daily lives. After all, no one’s figured out how to make plastic wood out of hydrogen.

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