Where Does Motor Oil Come From?

by Steve Smith


Motor oil comes from several countries that produce petroleum and oil and some may surprise you. One of the biggest exporters is Saudi Arabia, but it's only the second biggest. Canada is the biggest exporter of oil to the U.S. supplying 20 percent of the annual consumption. Mexico comes in third with 10 percent and other countries including Nigeria, Venezuela, Algeria and Angola are among the top ten exporters. Some oil still comes from Russia and parts of South America, including Brazil and Columbia.

U.S. Production

The U.S. does rely on many foreign countries to meet its exceedingly high demand for motor oil. It does produce over a billion gallons of oil domestically per year, but this does not satisfy the entire demand. Most of the oil produced in the U.S. comes from the southwest and Alaska. Texas is also one of the largest producers of oil in the U.S. In the past, Pennsylvania was one of the largest producers of oil, and California also became one of the hottest spots to prospect for the black gold.

How it is Made

Motor oil is a little different from other types of oil. It is made from the same stuff as gasoline--crude oil. This oil comes from the earth where intense pressure and heat has transformed dead organic organisms into a mixture of many different chemicals that can be used in all sorts of products. Companies drill into the ground and pump this oil out then send it to a refinery to extract these chemicals. At the refinery the raw crude is processed by chemical solvents and heated to precise temperatures to extract the chemical you know as motor oil. Synthetic materials can also be blended into the oil you use in your car.

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