All across the nation cars pull up to gas pumps, start pumping their gas. As we fill up the giant gas tanks on our SUV’s, which only get fifteen miles per gallon, we begin to notice the total price keeps clicking up and then we take a look up at the price per gallon and ask, “Why is gas so expensive?”. Often, it is without the knowledge of the process it takes to make the gas that can be used in your car. The process has a number of steps, all of which are expensive yet necessary to our cars driving efficiently.
The journey from raw petroleum to your gas tank begins with plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. Crude oil, the predecessor to gasoline, is formed from the remains of these animals. Because of this, these types of liquids are often referred to as Fossil Fuels. The remains are under extreme pressure because they are covered up by layers and layers of dirt, mud, sand, soil, etc. This is why wells have to be drilled to find the crude oil.
The act of drilling the well is very difficult. The drills must be very specific and able to cut through layers and layers of hard materials. The pipe must constantly be placed into the well so that the drill can go deeper and deeper. There are many dangers involved with this process, but once the well is drilled, a pump can be placed over the well and the crude oil can be extracted. This might seem like an easy process, but it is very difficult for oil prospectors to know exactly where to look for oil in the ground. Sometimes it can be roughly five miles deep under the earth. Sophisticated machinery is needed to dig that deep and then pull the oil out. Now that the oil is out of the ground, it must go through a process of refinery.
The petrol can be transferred in a variety of ways. Sometimes it has to travel very long distances by boat or truck, and sometimes an oil pipeline will be created to pump the oil to the refinery. Once the oil finally reaches the refinery, the refining process begins. When the petrol comes out of the ground it is not a very useful substance. To start the process the petrol is heated to extremely high temperatures in order to remove particles which are not needed. When the petrol cools, the lighter materials which make gasoline rise to the top where they can be harvested. The next part of the process requires scientists. The scientists have to test the product to make sure it is high enough quality. If the gasoline is not a high enough standard, it needs to be improved more until it is perfect.
The gasoline is the transferred again by land or sea to the gas stations where customers can purchase it. The transportation of the gasoline is obviously very dangerous. The principal quality of gasoline is its volatility and that leads to explosion or fire risks. The gas trucks pump the gas into large underground reservoirs at gas stations. Now, the gas is ready for your engine.
Making gasoline from crude oil is a difficult and long process. The multiple step process it takes to turn a millions of years old fossil into a refined element which can propel your automobile should be appreciated next time you fill up.