How much is oil worth?

back alley
Creative Commons License photo credit: tvol

Ever wonder how common items such as coffee, beer, or detergent compare to the price of oil? Don’t worry, I have already done the math for you. By breaking down the measurements into smaller units, you can compare the price of a glass of milk to a cup of oil, but I don’t recommend drinking it.

1 barrel of oil (bbl) contains 42 gallons.
1 gallon contains 16 cups.
Therefore, 1 barrel contains (42 * 16) = 672 cups.
If a barrel of oil today costs $68, then a cup of oil would come out to $0.10

That’s right; a nice cold glass of oil would only cost you 10 cents. Some of you coffee drinkers may notice that a Grande Latte from Starbucks, which contains about 2 cups of liquid, costs$3.10. The same amount of oil would be about 20 cents.
Lets take that a bit further. How much would a barrel of Grande Latte cost?
Remember that there are 672 cups of liquid in a barrel, and that a cup of Grande Latte is $1.55 a cup.

The cost of a barrel of Grande Latte (is it still a Grande if it is in a barrel?) = $1041.60. But think how long you could stay awake!

Grande Lattes not quite your cup of tea? Here is a list of the prices at Starbucks in case you don’t like lattes. 

Now let’s move on to something a little harder, and a little more alcoholic:

Beer provides more of a challenge because it does not come in gallons or cups, but in bottles measured in fluid ounces (fl.oz.).

In a six-pack there are 6 bottles of 12 fl.oz. each. If a six pack costs $8, then each bottle would cost $1.33 (cost of the six pack) /6 = per bottle price.

8 fl.oz. = 1 cup
If each bottle in a six pack has 12 fl.oz., then there are 72 fl.oz. of liquid. This comes out to 9 cups. At 8$ a sixpack, this comes out to just $0.11 per fl.oz. That means each cup of beer would cost 88 cents. That seems cheap compared to a Grande Latte at $1.55 a cup, but a bit pricy compared to oil at $0.10 a cup.

At $0.88 a cup, a barrel of beer would cost $591. For those of you interested:

2 percent milk by Anna Sattler
Creative Commons License photo credit: G & A Sattler

(672 * 8 = number of fl.oz in a barrel) / 12 fl.oz / bottle = the number of bottles in the barrel.
This means there are 448 bottles of beer in your $591 barrel of beer.

You can continue on with any number of liquids.  

Milk is an easy one to work with because it already comes in gallons.
If 1 gallon of milk is $2, then to get the price per barrel you simply multiply by 42, so milk comes out to be $84 per barrel.
You can go the other way and figure out that milk (16 cups in a gallon) costs $0.13 per cup.

I have included a few household items here for you to compare:

Grand Latte
Tide Detergent

Try these conversions with your other favorite liquids such as water, juice, shampoo and sun screen!

2 thoughts on “How much is oil worth?

  1. A per serving size can vary depending on item.

    A Grande Latté is one serving with 188 calories. So that’s 1 serving (2 cups or 16 fl.oz.) for $3.10

    A bottle of Beer is 1 serving of 12 fl.oz. with 150 calories for $1.33

    In a gallon of milk there are 16 serving of 8 fl.oz. each with 91 calories for $0.13

    In Coca cola 1 serving can is 12 fl.oz. with 140 calories for $.36

    Nyquil dose is 1 fl.oz. for $0.75

    Tide Detergent is 1.5 fl.oz. for each load for $0.30

    Listerine is 1 fl.oz. for $0.25

    And crude oil?

    You can’t do much with unrefined crude oil, but if you turn into other products, like gasoline.

    You get 19.15 gallons of gasoline from 1 barrel of crude oil or about 45% of a barrel of crude oil

    (See the DoE’s EIA )

    1 gallon of gasoline is about $2.40

    So if you drive about 7 miles to work or school (14 mile round trip)and your car gets about 25 miles per gallon, then you use .56 of a gallon (or 17360 calories). Then it would cost you $1.34 to get to and from school and you would have used 3% of the gasoline that comes out of 1 barrel of crude oil or 1% of a barrel of crude oil

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