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Oil refining what do we get from it

Updated on February 15, 2014
Oil Well
Oil Well

A barrel of crude oil refining

A barrel of crude oil refining consists of 42 gallons of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons. They are different lengths and weights of hydrocarbons. During the refining process they break down the hydrocarbons in ways that allow them to get different products from the oil at different points in the oil refining process. So what do they get?

Gasoline from a barrel of oil

The largest portion the the barrel of oil refining is gasoline, 19.4 gallons. In a straight refining process they only can get about 4 gallons of gasoline from the barrel. What they get is mostly long heavy hydrocarbons. To get the extra gasoline, they take the long heavy hydrocarbons and do what is called cracking. What they do in cracking is break down the long heavy hydrocarbons in shorter lighter ones, the ones they need for gasoline.

There are several different ways that they do cracking in the oil refining process. They use a catalyst combined with steam, heat, or hydrogen. It is a rather complex process that is more than most people want or need to know, other than the fact that they can do it.

Other types of fuels from a barrel of oil

Also from the barrel of oil refining they get about 10 gallons of diesel fuel. During the distillation process of refining the oil, the diesel comes off at 390 to 660 degrees F. That temp. is where the correct number of carbon atoms are chained to make diesel.

Jet fuel, about 3.8 gallons per barrel. This comes off at different temp. that has the right amount of the proper hydrocarbons in the mixture.

Heating oil, about 1.8 gallons. Heating oil comes from a slightly higher temp, in the 700 degree range.

Liquefied petroleum gas, about 1.7 gallons. Used in both propane and butane.

Motor oil. Used to lubricate moving parts.

products from oil
products from oil

What is left from a barrel of oil

From the rest of the barrel of oil they get compounds that are used in making thousand of other products. The ones most well known are rubber for tires, solvents for cleaning, other lubricating oils, grease for lubrication, Asphalt for roads, and many different types of plastics.

The things you may not know about are. Petroleum products from refining crude oil are used in making clothing, shoes, antiseptics, aspirin, deodorant, many types of makeup, shampoo, several types of hand and body lotions, toothpaste, petroleum jelly, ink, paint, crayons, roof shingles, bubble gum, other types of candy, and so many more products. Around 6000 different products are made using the left over petroleum byproducts from distilling oil.

Almost everything that we use everyday has been made from something that is refined from crude oil.

Oil company video about distilation


There is much more involved in getting our society away from using oil, than just not using it to fuel our cars. The gasoline is by far the biggest part of it, but without oil refining we would have many products that would not be as good, or not be available at all.

Read some of my other Hubs here. I have written several articles on Health and fitness, how and what to eat. Articles on disc golf, working out, and how to take better pictures of many different things. We will need oil for many years to come, luckily we have plenty of oil to last us for many years to come.

Other great articles

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      God is wonderful

    • profile image

      Joy J. 

      9 years ago

      Thanks 4 enlighting my understanding. Its indeed a good way of making impact, keep it up

    • profile image


      9 years ago


    • profile image

      Candy Dumhel 

      10 years ago

      I've been working on an oil refinery plant for almost a decade and leaks is the main concern in the plant that I have worked.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      that pretty awesome

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Thank you for good story. I increase my knowledge here.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      It a good story. that interested

    • adsensemaster profile image


      11 years ago from India

      fantastic writer also got good writing skills.

      I am always reading all your hubs also big fan of you.


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