Oil is everywhere: naphtha in the Bible, and alkylate on Amazon

It might be the most interesting thing I’ve learned in 2.5 years of covering energy. Oh, sure, there’s plenty of drama every time the nation’s largest economy, California, goes into theatrics over gasoline supply. It’s still a marvel how a pipeline can keep gasoline and diesel separate with nothing more than a little tweak in pressure. And it seems like every time someone sneezes too loud, the price of gasoline in Chicago goes up by 5 cents. Then someone dropped “mouse milk” on me. It’s what they call alkylate, the versatile blendstock that puts the octane in your high-octane gasoline and gets the RVP down to those low summer levels the regulators love so much. It’s the get-‘er-done component for summer blending. If a batch of components is added to a batch of gasoline, odds are good that 80 percent of those components are alkylate, one longtime refined products trader said. It’s called “mouse milk” because it gets so much done, just like the lubricant Mouse Milk that will free a rusty screw and that you can buy on Amazon for $9.91. It might have been called WD-40, but that is what many in the trade like to call naphtha. That’s another versatile blendstock … continue reading

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