U.S. Energy Information Administration logo

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between crude oil, petroleum products, and petroleum?

Crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons that exists as a liquid in underground geologic formations and remains a liquid when brought to the surface. Petroleum products are produced from the processing of crude oil and other liquids at petroleum refineries, from the extraction of liquid hydrocarbons at natural gas processing plants, and from the production of finished petroleum products at blending facilities. Petroleum is a broad category that includes both crude oil and petroleum products. The terms oil and petroleum are sometimes used interchangeably.

Last reviewed: November 22, 2019


Other FAQs about Diesel