Gasoline is the lifeblood of most American transportation systems. Petroleum products and internal combustion engines have helped propel the United States into a world power over the past century, and continue to power the vast majority of motor vehicles, whether they be on land, sea, or air. Large oil companies like Shell (NYSE:RDS.A), Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), and British Petroleum (NYSE:BP) have all become business and political juggernauts, raking in billions in revenues annually, and spreading across the globe to increase production. The influence of these companies has also helped spread the use of automobiles to some of the more far-flung reaches of the world, and hooked the world’s superpowers on their sweet serum.
Even though most of us use gasoline in some shape or form multiple times per day, people are often unfamiliar with many of the product’s key characteristics. For example, most people are aware that gas prices bounce up and down, but they have no idea why. How does taxation effect the ultimate price you’re paying to fill your vehicle? What are biofuels, what vehicles can use them, and what advantages do they provide? Aside from popular questions like these, it’s fairly widely known that America’s oil addiction has us involved in many conflicts across the globe, although the effects of those conflicts are, for the most part, held out of public view.
Here are six things that are important to know about gasoline, and why they are important. From taxes to environmental impact, these are some questions many people have no doubt pondered, but never taken the time to look up. Read on to learn more about the gasoline that powers our daily lives.