What is the cost in a barrel of oil?



Petroleum is far more ingrained into today’s society. A majority of products being purchased today are made from the us e of petroleum.

DREW HILL, Opinion Columnist

March 21, and the Brent crude international benchmark topped $122 on that same day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Both have come down about $10 since then, with the WTI dropping to $103.71 and the Brent Crude coming down to $109.65, according to Bloomberg energy, as of March 29.

  For people who use electric cars, the price of a barrel of oil may not seem like a big deal. Some may view the price rising as potentially beneficial as a way to reduce U.S. demand for fossil fuels. However, crude oil, called petroleum, affects our lives in so many other ways that we do not think about.

  Even if a person has an electric car, they probably purchase things made possible by transportation used with gasoline. Most groceries arrive at stores on trucks that use gasoline or diesel. Many machines used to process the products we buy run on gasoline.

However, a barrel of oil is used for far more than gasoline. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, only 44% of an average barrel of crude oil is used to make gasoline. Another 21% is used to make diesel. 18% is used for hydrocarbon gas liquids, such as propane, and 6% is used for jet fuel. The other 11% is used for other petrochemicals and substances. This may sound unimportant, until you realize that almost all synthetic products are made with petroleum.

Turning back to the transportation involved in the supply line, it might seem like if all trucking companies switched to electric vehicles, we might not be so reliant on petroleum. However, many of the roads we drive on are made with asphalt, which is made with petroleum. Tires are made out of synthetic rubber, which is made with petroleum. Motor oil and lubricants, necessary to keep the supply line moving, consist of crude oil too. Even car bodies themselves are made with petroleum. So, even electric cars are made with petroleum.

     Even if we go past transportation, many products themselves are produced with petroleum. Farmers need products made with petrochemicals to produce crops. These products include many fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides. Synthetic rubber, as mentioned earlier, is a building block for many products, from water hoses to shoe soles.

        One material made with petroleum that has a huge impact is plastic. Hundreds of the products we use contain plastic, including car parts, computers, toys, pipes used in construction, fishing lures and even many of the parts of your phone. You might be wearing a petroleum product right now, because polyester and nylon are both synthesized from petroleum. Petroleum products can even help you recover from illnesses, as some medicines and vitamins are made of petroleum.

   However, this is not even close to the number of products made with petroleum if we break it down specifically. The list also includes chewing gum, shoes, tennis rackets, cleaning agents and so on and so forth. These are just a sampling of the many products we may use on a day-to-day basis that are either synthesized from petroleum entirely or include parts that are.

So, petroleum products influence us in every area of our lives. Though oil companies are painted as greedy mass causers of climate change, it is important to realize that not all oil is bad. Ceasing the manufacturing of synthetics made from crude oil could potentially set our civilization back to well over a hundred years ago. The impact made by oil prices rising and falling affects us in more ways than we realize.