What Can a Single Barrel of Oil Make?

Oil has been getting a lot of attention these days. That’s especially true in Canada, a country that has seen major pipelines cancelled and loses tens of billions of dollars a year due to the oil price discount, all the while world demand for this "black gold" continues to grow every year.

Since 2008, the Tar Sands Campaign has effectively labelled any and all Canadian oil as the "dirtiest" of energy supply. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

We often see these anti-oil, anti-pipeline “environmental” groups who are part of this campaign against Canadian resources and prosperity rallying in remote locations. To do so, they use petroleum products such as gasoline, plastics and vehicles to chase their goals of shutting down our natural resource industries completely.

It begs us to ask these protestors a few important questions:

Do they know just how many everyday objects and uses there are for petroleum products?

Do they know just how intertwined our high quality of life and standard of living are with oil and gas?

The bottom line is we should all have some appreciation for the opportunities oil and gas provide us with at home in Canada and across the world.

17 Everyday Objects Can be Made from 1 Barrel of Oil


Thankfully, Visual Capitalist has shed some light on the topic in the most visually stimulating way possible – with an infographic (seen above). Take a good gander at this list and see for yourself what a single barrel of oil can make! Also, don’t forget to see these 10 Household Items You Didn’t Know Were Made by Oil.

  • Enough gasoline to drive a medium-sized motor vehicle more than 450 kilometres
  • Enough distillate fuel to drive a large truck for nearly 65 kilometres. Including the jet fuel fraction, this truck could travel nearly 80 kilometres
  • Enough propane to fill 12 small cylinders (14.1 ounces each) for camping or other daily use. Combine all these and you have just over half a 20lb tank you get at your local gas station or grocery store to use for your barbecue
  • Enough residual fuel left over to generate about 70 kilowatt-hours of electricity at your local power plant
  • Wax to make 27 wax crayons or 170 birthday candles
  • Asphalt to make about 3.8 litres worth of tar for use on streets or patching roofs
  • Charcoal to make about 1.8 kilograms or 4 pounds of briquettes for starting a fire
  • Lubricants to make about 0.95 litres of motor oil for your car

After these things are produced, there are still enough petrochemicals leftover in that one barrel to produce the following goods:

  • 750 pocket combs
  • 540 toothbrushes
  • 195 one-cup measuring cups
  • 135 four-inch rubber balls
  • 65 plastic drinking cups
  • 65 plastic dustpans
  • 39 polyester shirts
  • 23 hula hoops
  • 11 plastic telephone housings

These are just a few of the different things that can be made from oil. Actually, there are thousands of different applications ranging from aspirin pills and contact lenses to guitar strings and life jackets.

The modern-day applications of oil are so far-reaching and all-encompassing that sometimes we really just don’t understand how much this precious resource affects our lives day in and day out.

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