First off Oil as it turns out is a very useful base product. From a single barrel of oil (42 gallons) you not only get gasoline (19.36 gals) which we all put into our cars but they also refine Diesel fuel and Jet fuel. This accounts for only about 33 of the 42 gallons in the standard barrel of oil.
Graphic above taken from the U. S. Energy Information Administraion (http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/)
That remaining 9 gallons of oil is used to make many, many items. They are called “petrochemicals” a byproduct of distilling oil further is the production of ethylene and propylene. These are the backbone of the huge petrochemical industry.
Ethylene and propylene are used to produce plastics. Plastics in many forms have literally revolutionized our lives. Used in everything from cookware to blood bags, from computers to carpeting. There is virtually noting that does not benefit from the many forms of plastic.
The petrochemical industry employs more than 7 million people in this country this is over and above the 2 million jobs directly related to oil and gas production (these are the oil and gas field jobs, and those employed in the first tier refineries).
Plastics includes: bottles, laminated table/counter tops and flooring,, appliances, toys and medical equipment (including artificial joints, prosthesis as well as the tubing and surgical equipment). More than 1 million people work in the plastics industries and increases as a component of the national GDP by more than 2% per year.
Cosmetics include all the dyes, colorants and aromatics which are re-applied to other plastic or derivative (in the case of color agents of paint).
All of these industries are included in that 7 million job count. All of these products are directly affected by the price of the barrel of Oil. The pain of high oil goes beyond the gas pump that we all feel.
Begging to curry favor with the far left the Obama Administration has embarked on a considered effort if not to destroy the Oil Industry at least to hobble it to the point of near non-existence. The Administration is vested in high energy prices as a way to make Wind and Solar (supposed “Green” energy) more attractive.
The Administration has worked hard to restrict access to both oil and natural gas fields where many new jobs would be created. At the same time, drawing oil locally or at least in this hemisphere would reduce our multi-billion dollar to Middle Eastern nations for their oil. Witness the near total ban on re-opening drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and all the effort this Administration has expanded in trying to keep oil drilling a thing of the past in that region. All to the detriment of the many tens of thousands that depend on those jobs.
At the same time the EPA is on the way to adopting regulations that would restrict the development of new oil and gas fields, new and improved refinery plants which all would spur new jobs and reduce the cost of the raw material to the many industries that we rely on, not just the gas for our cars.
All of these initiatives pushed by the Administration (High energy prices, restricted access to the raw resources itself and the overreaching EPA regulations) is a concerted effort to cripple the oil and gas industries. With little or no regard to how the public feels or to its needs. No one can deny that high energy prices ripple into the fabric of our society.
That barrel of Oil is used many times in our integrated economy so that the high price must be factored into the ultimate cost of items purchased by the consumer many times. Not just in the transportation of the finished product to market, in many cases the actual manufacturing of the product is done in plants or with methods that rely on oil or petrochemicals.
There is no questioning that we are an oil economy. The fact that the Obama Administration is at war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Semolina (albeit a low yield, low intensity) he is also at war with the Oil and Natural Gas resources within this country.