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Unleaded gasoline is one of the products of crude oil. It is the most commonly used fuel type for automobiles globally. As the name suggests, it is gasoline that has not been treated with any lead compound. It is made up of a mixture of hydrocarbons that include heptanes, octane and hexane. This end product goes through various processes and tests before it can be sold for use. Various chemicals and additives are also incorporated in order to produce the quality that is desired.
This product changes hands from oil extractors, to refineries, to exporters, retailers and finally to the consumers. Oil extraction occurs at oil fields where oil wells are created by drilling holes into the earth’s crust where oilrigs are present (Hubbert, 1956). Steel pipes are placed inside the holes to provide rigidity of the structure and to allow oil to be pumped.
There are three methods employed for oil extraction and recovery. They include the primary recovery method (stage), the secondary recovery methods and the tertiary recovery methods. After the oil has been extracted, it is taken to the oil refineries.
For unleaded gasoline be produced, crude oil must go through the refineries. This is where crude oil undergoes distillation. This leads to the production of virgin or straight-run gasoline. However, this product does not have the specific characteristics required in the running of modern engines.
Therefore, it only forms part of the blend that is used in the production of unleaded gasoline. The product is made up of hydrocarbon. These hydrocarbons may be made of four to twelve carbons in every bond. The different products resulting from the different numbers of carbon atoms produce products having varying characteristics. They may be classified into straight-run gasoline, reformate, cat cracked gasoline, hydrocrackate (light, mid and heavy), alkylate and isomerate. These are the most commonly used terms but they vary.
From the refineries, the oil product (unleaded gasoline) may be sold to retailers who would transport the commodity to all the areas of the country in order to be accessed by its citizens or may be sold to exporters who would take the product to other nations around the globe. The producer countries mainly export oil products to countries that do not produce it (consumers). If exported, the commodity is left in the hands of the retailers who would be responsible for the distribution of the product and the selling of the same to the consumer.
Shares of wealth generated by the product
The shares of the wealth generated by the product are distributed among the various persons where the product is handed down from the oil extraction sites to the consumers. These include the profits received by the global traders, the salaries or wages of persons trading the commodity, the profits received by the final product manufacturer and the price paid by the consumer. The price of unleaded gasoline varies from country to country.
For example, its price in Europe is actually more than twice that in the United States. In the US, the price per gallon is about $ 5. In Italy, the price per gallon is $ 8.72. The pump price (price paid by the consumers) of the commodity per liter is about € 1.82. The average salary of a service station attendant servicing automobiles with gasoline, water and oil in the U.S. is $ 20,050. This statistic was provided using the Certified Compensation Professionals’ analysis.
Major producers and major consumers
The major producers of oil worldwide from highest producer include Saudi Arabia, Russia, United States, Iran, Mexico, China, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Norway, Kuwait and Nigeria. The major consumers of gasoline include United States, China, Japan, Russia, Germany, India, Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and France. The U.S. is one of the major consumers of gasoline.
It accounts for about 44% of gasoline consumption worldwide. In 2003, it consumed over 470 gigaliters of gasoline. The countries from the west are the greatest consumers of the product. The consumption of the product is also highest when the individual consumption is considered.
The production of gasoline (unleaded gasoline) is followed by the emission of carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas that has been determined to cause global warming (Hansen et al., 2000). Carbon dioxide has a blanketing effect on the atmosphere and it traps and reflects heat back to the surface.
This translates to the increase in temperature of the oceans and atmosphere. This can generally cause climatic changes that may be unsuitable. One of the effects is the change in the precipitation patterns. This is due to the changes in sea temperatures. This might also have an effect on the level of the sea as it rises. There is also a possibility of the subtropical deserts expanding.
This explains why various governments have implemented the Carbon Tax, which is levied on the amount of carbon emitted during the burning of fuel (hydrocarbon fuel). It is an environmental tax that puts a price on the amount of carbon produced in order to reduce the impact it has on the environment.
When fuel burns, the carbon in the fuel mixes with air and forms carbon dioxide that is released in the atmosphere as a waste product. This type of greenhouse gas has the ability to trap heat within the atmosphere and cause climatic changes. Governments have thought it wise to put in place measures to try to reduce the negative effects of carbon by using the carbon tax.
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This product of crude oil is very volatile. This causes the unused product to emit fumes in the air. When the sunlight hits it, it forms smog. Various additives also increase the effect. Such additives include ethanol. This is because it increases the volatility of the unleaded gasoline.
Various other environmental consequences of gasoline include the emission of toxic gases and substances. These include benzene, toluene, trimethylbenzene and other related toxic chemicals. These substances may cause health complications including cancers of the blood. The increase in the level of lead in people’s bloodstreams contributed to the consideration of producing unleaded gasoline (Pino, Walter, Oyarzun, Burden, & Lozoff, 2004).
The flammability of the unleaded gasoline is also a hazard to the environment because it can burn easily causing huge damages. Various accidental fires have occurred as persons try to light bonfires. As people try to add gasoline on the material on the bonfire (wood), the gasoline does more than just to help the material burn.
Due to the volatility of the product, it vaporizes in to the surrounding air and helps the fire spread to areas other than those intended. This might cause bush fires or forest fires if close to a forest. Forest or bush fires are detrimental to the environment because they destroy the natural habitats of many organisms inhabiting the area. This might cause death of many wild animals and plants. In extreme cases, it might cause endemic animals to go extinct.
Hansen, J., Sato, M., Ruedy, R., Lacis, A., & Oinas, V. (2000). Global warming in the twenty-first century: An alternative scenario. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 97 (18), 9875-9880.
Hubbert, M. (1956). Nuclear energy and the fossil fuels: Drilling and Production Practice. Washington, DC: American Petroleum Institute.
Pino, P., Walter, T., Oyarzun, M., Burden, J., & Lozoff, B. (2004). Rapid drop in infant blood lead levels during transition to unleaded gasoline use in Santiago, Chile. Archives of Environmental Health: An International Journal, 59 (4), 182-187.