When you see that your vehicle is running low on fuel, it’s customary to drive to the nearest gas station. You park at the most convenient pump, and your tank is refilled in minutes. The convenience is cool, but how does your gas get to the pump?
The United States uses petroleum refineries to make gasoline, and almost all the gas sold in the U.S. is made in the country. Explore the journey your gas makes to keep you riding comfortably through life. Here is a brief overview of a few of the steps your gas has to complete before it is pumped into your vehicle.
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Finding the crude oil stockpiles
Your gas doesn’t just begin as the finished product with which you are so familiar. Gas begins as crude oils which are extracted using specially made pumps from deep below the Earth’s surface. Your gas begins its journey with exploration.
The U.S. uses giant oil rigs to drill for oil in the middle of the ocean and other locations across North American soil. Once the crude material is harvested, it then must be distributed for processing.
The crude oil has to be refined
When the crude oil is harvested from its source, it then has to be transported via a system of pipelines to several different refineries. The refineries convert the crude oil into gasoline, diesel fuel, propane, and other petroleum-based products.
Ethanol is added to the mixture at this step in the process to raise the octane level of the gasoline. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) requires the addition of ethanol to reduce smog and other environmental toxins from being disbursed.
Transportation via pipeline
After the fuel is finished at the refinery, it hits the pipelines once again to be disbursed to various gas moguls like Exxon and BP. These companies then add special detergents and other additives to formulate their own unique gasoline mixtures. This is the stop where the different grades of fuel are created.
Big trucks travel the rest of the way
Once the various suppliers are through mixing their specific fuel recipes, the gasoline is loaded onto a special fuel truck to be sent off for delivery. The trucks are manufactured to have three different compartments for the three grades of fuel.
Once the truck arrives at the gas station, special pumps are used to pump the gasoline into huge reservoirs in the ground below. The delivery driver and the station worker trade a bit of paperwork, and the gas is ready for consumers to purchase.
You choose the rest of the journey
When you choose a specific grade at the pump, it pulls gas from the perspective tank. What you do with the fuel once it’s pumped into your vehicle decides the remainder of its journey.