The international selling price of unrefined petroleum (commonly referred to as the oil price) has once again gone up to US Dollars 100 per barrel, causing concerns worldwide.
The ‘oil barrel’ is an old measure that has survived from the early days of the petroleum industry that originated in the Pennsylvania oil fields.
In the early 1860s, when oil production began, there was no standard container for oil, so whiskey barrels were used. Although actual barrels are no longer used to transport crude oil — and most petroleum is now moved around in pipelines or oil tankers — the measure is still in use. Since it was standardized in 1872, how many US gallons are in one barrel of oil?
This is one of 15 questions I asked in this week’s Wiz Quiz column in the Daily News, titled Of Oil Prices and Food Crises…
Once again, my co-compiler Vindana Ariyawansa and I offer a ‘mixed bag’ of questions, covering subjects ranging from culture and sports to science and business. These take off from some recent news stories and current concerns. For example, we hear about world oil prices rising (again!), and extreme weather causing food shortage in some parts of the world. When news reports mention oil barrels and talk about Malthusian scenarios, do we know what they really mean?