Energy Education | Jan 23, 2020
What Can Be Made from One Barrel of Oil?
Oil gets a bad rap these days, but the stuff is quite incredible. Many people think of crude oil as a thick, black liquid that is used to source our unquenchable thirst for gasoline. However, the reality is that each barrel of oil is refined to be used in a variety of applications that includes fuel, cosmetics, plastics, rubber, and candle wax.
This infographic comes from JWN Energy, an oil and gas news site. Using Chevron as a source, it shows 17 different things that can be made from each barrel of oil.
- Enough gasoline to drive a medium-sized car over 450km (280 miles)
- Enough distillate fuel to drive a large truck for almost 65km (40 miles). If jet fuel fraction is included, that same truck can run nearly 80km (50 miles)
- Nearly 70 kWh of electricity at a power plant generated by residual fuel
- About 1.8 kg (4 lbs) of charcoal briquettes
- Enough propane to fill 12 small (14.1 ounce) cylinders for home, camping or workshop use
- Asphalt to make about 3.8 L (one gallon) of tar for patching roofs or streets
- Lubricants to make about a 0.95 L (one quart) of motor oil
- Wax for 170 birthday candles or 27 wax crayons
- But that’s not all. After producing all of the above products, there’s also enough petrochemicals leftover to be used as a base for one of the following:
- 39 polyester shirts
- 750 pocket combs
- 540 toothbrushes
- 65 plastic dustpans
- 23 hula hoops
- 65 plastic drinking cups
- 195 one-cup measuring cups
- 11 plastic telephone housings
- 135 four-inch rubber balls
Oil is not a one-trick pony, and the gooey black liquid actually has thousands of applications. The above serves as one example of how a barrel could be used, but here’s a list of many other oil applications. It includes everything from guitar strings to antihistamines.
Whatever your opinion is of fossil fuels, it’s still astonishing what can be produced out of each barrel of oil.
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