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I heard that crude oil, which is used to make other products like gasoline, is getting contaminated more and more by atoms like nitrogen and metals, so that the catalysts have more difficulty making it clear for gasoline. If so what causes these contaminations?

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    $\begingroup$ It's not like it becomes more contaminated. It's like 'sweet' light and nice oils are not available in sufficient qualities and market demands deeper refinement, including heavy fractions, that were dumped in the past. The graphs of oil demand (readily available in the internetz) show steady growth for many years, and economical shocks are only a minor setback. $\endgroup$ – permeakra Oct 13 '16 at 21:01
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    $\begingroup$ The other significant point is that modern cars have a catalytic converter to control emissions. The fuel has to be produced in such a way that it won't poison the catalytic converter. $\endgroup$ – MaxW Oct 14 '16 at 22:56
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We've already extracted most of the easy-to-get, easy-to-use, relatively pure, oil, and are now digging up oil from other sources, like the tar sands of Alberta, which contain a lot more contaminants than most other sources we've drawn from in the past.

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  • $\begingroup$ >We've already extracted most of the easy-to-get, easy-to-use, relatively pure, oil, || I request a proof on this. As far as I'm aware, that's not true. There is a plenty of light oils on the market, (WTI, Brent); and arabian oil that is offered in plenties, is still very easy to process. The offering is by no mean sufficient (and tails are gathered from many sources) but it is still significant, and there is no need to move to tar sands yet. (Afaik, tar sands are calculated to be profitable to use at oil prices on sweet oils above $80-120/barrel) . $\endgroup$ – permeakra Oct 14 '16 at 16:30

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