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Topic – Fill It Up!

Read the Following Selection

Read the following selection, or click on the play button below to listen aloud.

Fill It Up!

Most cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles run on gasoline. There are vehicles today that use alternative fuels. These are fuels that can be used in place of gasoline. They include

ethanol (made from corn)

biodiesel (made from soybean oil, vegetable oil, animal fats, or recycled cooking oil)

compressed natural gas (natural gas that has been squeezed so it takes up less space)

There are also vehicles that run on electricity or on a combination of electricity and another fuel.

Still, gasoline-powered vehicles are the most common. Where does gasoline come from and how does it get to a vehicle?

From the Ground to Your Car

Gasoline comes from crude oil. Crude oil is also called petroleum. Usually, crude oil is found in the ground as a liquid. To get the oil, a hole is drilled to the oil. Then it is pumped out of the ground.

Crude oil is made up of hydrocarbons. There are many different types of hydrocarbons in crude oil, so it has to be refined first. During the refining process, the crude oil is heated. The different hydrocarbons turn into a vapour (a gas) at different temperatures. So during refining, the different hydrocarbons are separated from each other.

Here is a list of some of the hydrocarbons that come from crude oil: butane, propane, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, asphalt, and tar. Each of these has different uses.

Once gasoline is refined, chemicals are added. These chemicals help make a vehicle run better by doing things such as cleaning the engine. Sometimes gasoline is further refined so some chemicals do not need to be added.

When the gasoline is ready, it is usually transported to a terminal. Pipelines are most often used to do this. The terminal is a big storage place. Tanker trucks fill up at these terminals. They carry the gasoline to gas stations, where the gasoline is stored in large tanks underground. The pumps at a gas station pump out the gasoline from the tanks into the vehicles.

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