To some, a barrel of crude may look like a gooey liquid who's only redeeming virtue is to be eventually refined into gasoline.

Researchers broke down a typical barrel of domestic crude oil into what may be produced. By the way, the average domestic crude oil has a gravity of 32 degrees and weighs 7.21 pounds per gallon.

Here's what just one barrel of crude oil can produce:

  • Enough liquefied gases (such as propane) to fill 12 small (14.1 ounce) cylinders for home, camping or workshop use.
  • Enough gasoline to drive a medium-sized car (17 miles per gallon) over 280 miles.
  • Asphalt to make about one gallon of tar for patching roofs or streets.
  • Lubricants to make about a quart of motor oil.
  • Enough distillate fuel to drive a large truck (five miles per gallon) for almost 40 miles. If jet fuel fraction is included, that same truck can run nearly 50 miles.
  • Nearly 70 kilowatt hours of electricity at a power plant generated by residual fuel.
  • About four pounds of charcoal briquettes.
  • Wax for 170 birthday candles or 27 wax crayons.

There are enough petrochemicals left in that same barrel to provide the base for one of the following:

  • 39 polyester shirts
  • 750 pocket combs
  • 540 toothbrushes
  • 65 plastic dustpans
  • 23 hula hoops
  • 65 plastic drinking cups
  • 195 one-cup measuring cups
  • 11 plastic telephone housings
  • 135 four-inch rubber balls
The lighter materials in a barrel are used mainly for paint thinners and dry-cleaning solvents and they can make nearly a quart of one of these products. The miscellaneous fraction of what is left still contains enough by-products to be used in medicinal oils, still gas, road oil and plant condensates -- a real industrial horn of plenty.