Oil is black gold. This is nonrenewable energy that we’ve become reliant on to perform daily activities such as driving to work and cooking our food. No wonder it is so in demand. In fact, it is so in demand that the United States has to import twice the amount of oil it produces to satisfy business and consumer needs.
To obtain this special resource involves specific equipment and a complicated process of extracting. Depending on the treatment, petroleum products come in multiple varieties and with different uses.
But before we get to that, here are some things worth knowing about. Starting with the difference between crude oil and petroleum products.
Crude Oil vs. Petroleum Products
You might have noticed these terms being used near each other. Although they are closely related, they have a difference. Petroleum products refer to fuels that are made from crude oil and hydrocarbons contained in natural gas. To simplify things, petroleum is an umbrella term for both crude oil and other petroleum products. Petroleum is often used interchangeably with the term oil.
On the other hand, crude oil is ‘unprocessed’ oil. It is a combination of hydrocarbons and other organic materials. This raw resource is refined into other petroleum products. It goes through the process of refining to separate the usable petroleum products from those that are not. The petroleum products made from crude oil include gasoline, heating oil, waxes, lubrication oils, and more.
The Refining Process
Crude oil has little use on its own. It has to go through the refining process first before it can be properly used. The process of refining crude oil happens in a refinery. A refinery’s job is to remove impurities from the ‘unprocessed’ oil and combine it with other mixtures to make the products. These are then stored on-site until they are distributed to gas stations, airports, and other markets.
Industries That Rely On Oil
As the biggest consumer of petroleum products, the United States uses it in several ways. The biggest slice of the pie in terms of its consumption belongs to the transportation sector.
Naturally, the most consumed form of petroleum in the country is gasoline, followed by distillate fuel oil, including diesel fuel and heating oil. Aside from the transportation sector, others who need oil are the industrial, residential, commercial, and electric power sectors. The high demand is reason enough for investment companies to take an interest.
Common Petroleum Products
Finally, here are a few of the most common petroleum products we see every day. To break things down, here’s a list of them worth knowing about.
Gasoline, also known as petrol, is the preferred automobile fuel due to its combustion levels and ability to mix with air easily in a carburetor. Gasoline provides an even combustion pattern, doesn’t have difficulty starting in cold weather, and comply with environmental conditions.
You might have some in your own kitchen as we speak. Kerosene is another product used for our daily needs. They may be used for cooking food and even burning furnaces. But aside from its domestic use, kerosene is utilized as jet fuel. However, both have different specifications to fit their use.
If you have a car, this is something familiar to you. Diesel oil is a combustible liquid used to power diesel engines. It is used to fuel automobiles such as cars, motorcycles, buses, and more. Compared to gasoline, it requires fewer steps in the refining process. Diesel fuel produces more energy on combustion than similar amounts of gasoline. Diesel engines are generally better in fuel economy than gasoline engines.
It is commonly used to generate electric power generation and in the domestic space for heating purposes. Fuel oil primarily consists of residues from distillation in crude oil.
With further treatment, residual products include lubricating oil, waxes, paints, and more. These products are utilized in different ways and different industries, from cosmetics to construction and more.
We have all been using oil to power our work, play, and other daily activities for the majority of our lives. Oil has aided men in building infrastructure and improving technology. It has been a building block that has powered civilizations for centuries. But since it’s a nonrenewable resource, we shouldn’t treat it like it’s unlimited. It should be used mindfully. It’s a resource we need to get by, so let’s be wise about it.