Black Gold: 30 Facts That Illuminate the World of Petroleum Products

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1Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum Jelly was first discovered when a chemist visiting an oil rig noticed that the workers would smear the wax that built upon the drills and rigs on their wounds to heal them faster. He figured out how to refine it and started selling it under the name Vaseline.

2. Refining a 42-gallon barrel of crude oil yields 20 gallons of gasoline, 7 gallons of diesel, and 17 gallons of petroleum byproducts such as propane, ammonia and plastic material, totaling 44 gallons; a net gain of 2 gallons.

3. As of 2009, over 3 million tons of asphalt pavements have been recycled and there is over a 99% recycling rate for asphalt.

4. In 1949, a man died while cleaning machinery with gasoline. The gasoline dripped onto a rat that was running across the floor. The rat’s gasoline-coated fur ignited when it ran beneath a heater with a pilot light, causing an explosion that killed the worker. This story of negligence is now taught in law schools.

5. Natural gas has no smell. Gas companies are required to add a chemical called mercaptan as a safety precaution, so people know the smell and can identify a leak.

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6Diesel fuel

Diesel fuel

Diesel fuel turns into a gel at low temperatures, and cannot flow into the engine. This is why some schools close down when the temperature is low enough to turn the fuel into a gel, preventing the buses from running.

7. There is a gas station in Minnesota that allows customers to pre-purchase bulk quantities of gasoline on the commodities market for a $1 membership fee, so instead of paying $4.00/gallon, some customers are paying less than $1.00.

8. If all the corn and soybean production in the U.S was diverted to corn ethanol and soy biodiesel, it would meet only 12% of gasoline demand and 6% of diesel demand.

9. Norway has the world's highest gas prices. Though they have oil reserves, they don't subsidize fuel and use the money earned for free college education and national infrastructure.

10. The fuel for each of Nazi Germany's V2 rockets was made from 30 tons of potatoes.

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11Ecuador oil spill

Ecuador oil spill

An oil pipeline in Ecuador has spilled more oil into the Amazon than the Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska.

12. The United Kingdom has an underground aviation fuel pipeline dating back to World War 2, allowing aviation fuel to be transported around the country without risking it on roads and railways.

13. There are 45 different types of gas produced in the USA significantly reducing efficiency and raising the price at the pump.

14. Diesel and House Heating Oil are the same fuel. The difference is that heating oil is dyed red and does not have a road tax applied to it to making it cheaper. You can use it in off-road machinery but it is illegal to use it in a truck or car utilizing public roadways.

15. In 2015, U.S. imported 24% of the petroleum it used, the lowest since 1970. The largest sources of U.S. imported oil were from North and South American which accounts for more than 60% of total US oil imports.

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16Summer & Winter Blend

Summer & Winter Blend

USA has summer blend and winter blend gasoline and this is one of the reasons why the gas prices go up in spring.

17. Diesel fumes are more carcinogenic than cigarettes and cause lung cancer, according to the World Health Organization.

18. Biodiesel has the highest energy balance of any fuel. For every one unit of fossil energy needed to produce biodiesel, 3.2 units of energy are gained.

19. In 2015, the price of gasoline in Venezuela was 1/5th of $.01, or 482 gallons with just $1.

20. One gallon (about 4 liters) of gasoline contains about 31,000,000 calories.



Gasoline (petrol) was once regarded as a nuisance by-product of refining kerosene, and huge amounts of it were dumped into rivers or burned off.

22. It is standard practice that gasoline is stored in red containers; diesel is stored in yellow containers; kerosene is stored in blue cans and oil combustibles are stored in green containers.

23. Petrol sniffing to get high is a big problem among Australian aborigines. Opal, a special gasoline, is sold in aborigine areas to discourage sniffing; although it requires a government subsidy, doing so saves money compared to the cost of treating petrol sniffing.

24. Petrol was provided by the government of Turkmenistan to its citizens for free up until 2014. Every citizen was given a monthly allowance of 120 liters of free petrol.

25. Jet Fuel (Jet A) can be used in diesel engines.

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