Oil is called a fossil fuel because it is made up of ancient fossils. The oil we use today came from water-based plants and animals that lived before even dinosaurs existed. Oil is a fossil fuel made up of hydrocarbons left behind by animals and plants millions of years ago.
Over millions of years, the remains of these plants and animals were crushed and heated between layers of rocks and sand until they became underground pools of oil. We call this oil “crude oil” because it is not yet refined for use. Crude oil is both a fuel and a base for products.
Oil can fuel jets, cars, heaters, and generators. Crude oil can be used to create petroleum products like tar, asphalt, paraffin wax, and lubricating oils. It can also be used to create products that aren’t typically associated with petroleum.
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Perfume, fertilizer, and computers are all made with crude oil. It’s the base for plastics, so anything with plastic is made with crude oil. Modern society depends on oil to function. Without it, there is no economic activity. The demand for oil and the dependency on it have many impacts worldwide.
The world’s economy is largely dependent on fossil fuels such as crude oil, and the demand for these resources often sparks political unrest, as a small number of countries control the largest reservoirs. Like any industry, supply and demand heavily affect the prices and profitability of crude oil. The United States, Saudi Arabia, and Russia are the leading producers of oil in the world.