Infographic: Mapping Our Oil Pipeline

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[Good.is] Where does gasoline come from? Believe it or not, it’s not just one system that makes it possible for you to fuel up at your local gas station. From gathering pipelines that include oil wells on land and tankers overseas, to hundred-mile-long crude oil trunk lines that transport from gathering systems to refined product lines, oil still doesn’t reach the consumer until storage and distribution terminals are involved. And, in case you’re picturing these pipelines as similar to the water pipes in your home, oil pipes can range in size from 2 to 42 inches in diameter, and are owned and operated by companies that are regulated by federal and state governments.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 150,000 miles of crude oil pipelines, 55,000 miles of which are trunk lines and 95,000 miles of which are refined product pipelines. Perhaps the most well-known American trunk lines are the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, and most recently, the Keystone XL Pipeline, which has become a point of contention in our federal government. Click on the infographic above to see how an oil pipeline system works.

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