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Gas Past the Pump: Crude Oil's Role in Everyday Life

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19048249 Just a little something to think about: crude oil - or petroleum - is used in more products than just automobiles. Cars are not the only culprits of consuming an abundance of oil: the

same stuff that has you cursing at the pump is also used in the production and transport of the bottled water in your hand, the diaper on your baby's behind, and the food on your plate. If 10,000 people stopped buying bottled water for a year, the oil they'd save could fuel four cars over the same period.

In reality, only 88 percent of all petroleum extracted is processed as fuel; the other 12 percent is converted into other materials such as plastic. And judging from the absurd volume of bottled water at stores and in trash bins, bottled water is a huge portion of that 12 percent.

From start to finish, it takes at least a gallon of oil to produce a pound of beef. In fact, every year over 400 gallons of oil end up in each and every American's stomach. Not literally, of course, but consider the oil used in fertilizer and pesticide production, operation of machinery like tractors and grain elevators, the creation and maintenance of irrigation systems, and the production of livestock.

Oil's not just on the plate and in the tank, either. Everything from asphalt in roofing, to no-stick frying pans, to computers, to basketballs are not just made from petroleum, they're also made using the stuff.

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