Petroleum is necessary for a great number of human needs. Today, petroleum is mostly used as a source of energy, being rich in combustible carbon in the production of electricity or running some sorts of heat engines.
When thinking of petroleum, the average American usually equates it with gasoline, since this is the one petroleum product that the average consumer has to purchase on a regular basis. It is relatively common and low-cost, often fluctuating in price due to economic, political, or supply level concerns. Therefore, gasoline gets the most attention, but petroleum is used to make several other products which in turn have several uses themselves.
Raw petroleum (also known as crude oil) is used in three major ways: Transportation, Electricity Generation, and Material Production.
Here are some of the products of petroleum refining and their uses:
- Gasoline – used to power automobiles, planes, boats, and many other forms of transportation
- Diesel Fuel – used for powering automobiles
- Kerosene – used in lighting and cooking
- Heating Oil – used to provide houses with necessary warmth
- Lubricating oil – keeps machinery cool
- Grease – necessary in automobile repair, train tracks, machinery upkeep, etc.
- Tar – used in construction