The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Virgil Vaupel
Thanks For Listening 

I Got Gas, You Got Gas


I've done something I rarely do. I actually did some research on what I'm about to expound your way via this broadcast.

Seems it takes about 16 million barrels of crude oil to run this country every day. That's for gasoline, diesel fuel, aviation gas, heating oil and similar products and the sludge, or left-over stuff for bio-plastics.

Most of the crude oil we consume in the United States is purchased from several or more foreign countries that ... hate us ... love our money.

Some folks think that a barrel of crude is the standard 55 gallon drum, but it isn't. Them Texas good ol' boy oil boys decided that a barrel of oil should be 44 gallons, which with most crude oil weighing in at 7.1 pounds per gallon make a drum of oil weigh about 310 pounds. (All my mathematical figures in the following will be in the “or so” and the “+ or -” categories. As you know I ain't much for the 999.99 thing.)

Let me get off track here a minute. When I drove school bus we sometime got stranded on the south side of the train tracks in Hinsdale and one day a grain train was the culprit of our being late for school.

As it passed by I told the kids I would give a cash prize for the first person who could tell me how many 1 pound boxes of Wheaties could be made from the wheat on that one train. The kid who won thought it was a lot of work for just fifteen cents!

They first had to figure how many pounds were in each car and how many cars were there. They took it from there and of the nine kids who took the challenge three came very close to the figure I had.

Now I'm back on track. I could do the same thing with my 10.630 readers about oil, but I know you all have better things to do so I'll work it out for you. Stay tuned ... this info could boggle your brain.

Each tanker-car will hold about 120,000 pounds of crude oil. Crude weighs 7.1 pouonds per gallon for a total of 17,250 gallons per car or 392 bbl. That equals 41,550 bbl per train, and there are at least two trains per day through here loaded and going west.

The oil industry says a bbl of crude can produce about 19 gallons of gasoline, 9.5 gallons of diesel, 4.8 gallons of aviation gas, 2.4 gallons of kerosene and heating oil and the balance goes to make motor oil and plastics.

Some 790,000 gallons of gas is produced using the crude oil from just one train of oil tankers. That's about a 17th of what it takes to run the country.

According to government figures there are 255 million registered vehicles in the United States. Of that number, about 194M are automobiles, 42M are pickups, 1.4M are RVs, busses and delivery vans with two axles and six tires, and 2.6M are semitractors (big trucks). Oh, and there are about 7 million murdercycles.

If one considers the crude oil being pumped out of the ground in Montana, North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, the Gulf of Mexico, California onshore and off shore, Alaska's Prudhoe Bay and North Slope, and the Cook Inlet rigs it's still way short of our needs.

Some of the Alaska's 1 million barrels per day reach refineries near Anacortes, Washington, but most goes to Japan for refined refining. See, their EPA will let them build modern, state of the art refineries whereas our EPA is loathe to do so.

Japan can “crack” the crude much better than our decrepit and aged refineries and can achieve about 3 gallons of gas more per barrel of crude than can our refineries.

It would be nice if we could wean ourselves off foreign oil dependency and every day we are getting that much closer, but we still have much work to do.

In the meantime, while Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait et al are running out of crude – they're capping off dead wells at, to them an alarming rate – we sit back on our little nest egg in the Baaken and Alaska until such a time as we can tell those other guys we don't need their oil and ask “do they want to buy their gas from us.”

You could run a small country with the gasoline the United States wastes every day. We make multiple trips to the store. We drive the 480 miles to Billings and back when we could buy locally. In my case I drive to the Raiders Quick Stop (shameless plug) in the morning for coffee when I could just as well walk the three blocks.

But one must consider it's three blocks back as well. Yikes!

That's it for now folks. Thanks for listening.


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