Oil is currently estimated as one of the most important commodities on Earth today, ranking number one amongst all the metal markets. The oil market trumps all other metal markets, coming in at an estimated $1.7 trillion per year. Gold comes in second, at $170 billion, and iron in third with $115 billion. To put it in perspective, even combining all the other metal markets would not reach crude oils worth. Altogether, the metal markets are worth $660 billion, which pales in comparison to oils mammoth $1.7 trillion. Oil’s worth is largely down to its versatile nature and usability.

Why Oil is number 1:

The numbers, provided by Visual Capitalist, speak greatly of oil’s power in modern society today. In 2015, the global market for oil was estimated at 94 million barrels of crude oil per day. Yearly, 34 billion barrels of oil are produced. Currently, the oil market is estimated to be worth $1.7 trillion per year. And there is a good reason for this estimate. Crude oil is used in a variety of industries, such as aviation, shipping, aerospace and automobiles. Oil essentially powers the modern transportation industry. Without it, these industries, and our lives, would not be the same.

Oil can be used in more than just transportation. Visual Capitalist created a helpful chart to break down all the uses of one barrel of domestic crude oil. According to Visual Capitalist, one barrel of domestic crude oil can produce: enough asphalt to make 3.8 litres of tar for road maintenance; almost 70kilawatt hours of electricity at a power plant generated by residual fuel; 1.8 kg of charcoal briquettes; wax for 170 birthday candles and enough gasoline to power a medium sized car for 450 kilometres, with many more uses. Even after all of these uses, there would be enough petrochemicals left over to produce multiple other items, such as 540 toothbrushes, 65 plastic drinking cups and 39 polyester shirts. Even then, the crude oil is not finished. After all of this, there would still be enough byproducts to be used further. This breakdown shows just a few of the numerous ways we can use and depend on oil in our everyday lives, making it clear why oil is on top.

Oils new threat:

Despite all of these benefits, the use of oil has a definite drawback. The releasing of harmful emissions by petroleum products, and its impact on plant, animal and marine life have been the biggest arguments against the excessive use of oil. Such concerns over oils environmental affects have thus led to the need for newer, environmentally friendly solutions. A possible replacement might have been found in investing in energy metals, such as lithium. Lithium-ion batteries store clean energy, and power electric cars. In addition, junior mining company MGX’s newly introduced technology for lithium extraction is both quick and relatively safe for the environment, as it produces a byproduct of clean water. Over the years, the importance of such energy metals have been steadily increasing, being dubbed the lithium revolution. The movement towards clean energy transport could thus reduce the dependence on oil for transport. Despite the lithium revolution gaining traction, however, it is expected that oil will remain a powerful force in society and across the various industries for quite some time.

What are your thoughts about oils massive impact on society? Let us know in the comments below.