Organic crude

The definition of “organic” is plant or animal products that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical additives"
Crude oil was formed many eons ago from small animals, before there were humans. The food they ate must have been organic, so these little creatures themselves were organic. Conclusion: crude oil deserves the label “organic”. It would go a bit far to say that gasoline is organic, because the refining process uses man-made chemicals, and gasoline contains chemical additives. But it would be correct to say that gasoline is made “from organically grown ingredients.”

Come to think of it, coal is organic too.

The oil that goes into your engine is 75-80% original “organic” base stock. The other 20-25% is a concoction of many different chemicals to make the oil perform as intended. These additives could not be classified as “organic” by your defintion.

So labelling any motor oil as organic is sort of a meaningless excercise. Used motor oil is classified as a “hazardous substance” to make sure it does not get into the ground water or food supply. In the Arctic this oil is often burned in special burners to provide heating and cooking energy. The little air pollution it causes there is preferred to getting it into the ground water and rivers.

The best use for old oil is to re-refine it. Many engines can use it, such as large marine engines and locomotives. Burning it it cement kilns is another option, but may need scrubbers in the stack.


Okay–let’s assume for the moment that crude oil is organic.
For that matter, so is one form of arsenic.
For that matter, so is horse manure.
For that matter, so is a decaying corpse.

If you believe “organic” to automatically be a good thing–would you knowingly eat organic arsenic, or horse manure, or a rotting corpse?

Are you trying to tell us that if something (in this case–petroleum) is organic, that it is–by definition–always benign and non-toxic?

Ergo–“organic” substances can be toxic, or they can be benign, and the same dichotomy is true for some inorganic substances.

I am not quite sure what your point is, but I would like you to ponder what I posted above.

Maybe crude is organic but gasoline is not. Gasoline is contrived from crude; it does not occur naturally. Just because something is made from organic compounds , does not make it organic. Technically, It has to occur naturally. Otherwise, everything would be organic. We mistakenly call some motor oil organic but only to differentiate it from synthetic which is made from “more” chemical compounds that do not occur naturally. Organic is a very fluid term. Once advertisers got their hands on the word , nothing is safe from from it’s use. Don’t dwell on it…it’s like the discussion we had on 4wd vs awd.

Can you call sauerkaut organic once you add spices to it…not technically but legally yes because…

Even the govt. is allowed to define "organic " foods as those having x% from naturally occurring substances and not 100%. That drives vocabulary teachers crazy.

Like Bubba says, it depends upon what is, is.

Like VDC says…ponder it. Just don’t expect a difinitive answer from anyone.

In chemistry, if I remember correctly, the dividing line between organic and non-organic is whether the substance contains carbon. So in that sense, all crude is “organic.” Couldn’t resist.


That makes " plastics organic"…Couldn’t resist that either.

“Crude oil was formed many eons ago from small animals”

Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Hoss! Where do you get that from? Has that process ever been reproduced in a laboratory? How did those critters get so far underground? In chemistry class you have to make those equation-like thingies with letters, numbers, and arrows that show how something gets from point A to point B. How do you go from a critter to petroleum? Just because they told you so in grade school doesn’t make it true.

And dagosa is right about plastics.

The field of chemistry that deals with petrochemicals is “organic” chemistry. So when I see food labeled as ‘organic’, some part of me imagines it could be made from crude oil and the label wouldn’t be a misnomer. Of course all food is organic. If I ever see food labeled as inorganic, I think I’ll pass. Basically any food for humans or animals could be made from carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. “CHON” food. Of course you’d need traces of other elements for proper nutrition and flavor.

organic |ôrˈganik|
1 of, relating to, or derived from living matter : organic soils.
• Chemistry of, relating to, or denoting compounds containing carbon (other than simple binary compounds and salts) and chiefly or ultimately of biological origin. Compare with inorganic .
• (of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.
2 Physiology of or relating to a bodily organ or organs.
• Medicine (of a disease) affecting the structure of an organ.
3 denoting a relation between elements of something such that they fit together harmoniously as necessary parts of a whole : the organic unity of the integral work of art.
• characterized by continuous or natural development : companies expand as much by acquisition as by organic growth.

Wow, my post is getting more attantion than I’d expected on Christmas Eve.
VDCDriver asks the legitimate question of what my point is. I have several.

My first point is that, in chemistry, the definition of “organic” is different from the way it’s used in the supermarkets. When I see “organic salt” I don’t know whether to start crying, or laughing, or just shrugging my shoulders. I guess I’m peeved that the term has been hijacked.

My second point is that the term “organic” is used on labels of consumer products as a badge of quality. Not just food; there is such a thing as “organic cotton.” The buying public is supposed to think that “organic” equates with “good”. And … the buying public is prepared to pay a much higher price for anything that is organic.
I fully agree that “organic” is not synonymous with “good”; my favorite example is heroine, which can no doubt be grown organically, but that doesn’t make it good.
But my real point is that the official definition of “organic” is deeply flawed. It is in fact so bad that crude oil meets this definition. Note: I never said that gasoline could be labeled “organic”; I even said it could not. But crude oil surely is organic, as is coal, as is natural gas.
And I think the issue is a different one from AWD versus 4WD. It’s different here because use of the term is government certified; nobody understands it; anybody can misuse it; and we’re supposed to pay a higher price for any product having the label.

I would like to see an oil company advertising their gasoline as derived from “organic crude”, just to expose the flaws in the definition. But I guess they’ll be too scared of the negative PR.

Agree; snake venom and all natural poisons are “organic”. The term is now so overused as to be virtually meaningless. With respect to food it used to mean free of pesticides, herbicides, no chemical fertilizers used or growth hormones in case of animals. And no preservatives of course. That means organic bread will get mouldy very quickly and cannot be transported long distance.

If we take all this into account, we end up with very expensive food, and the world population coud not be sustained on this. The Green Revolution" in crop yields was mainly due to better genetics and better use of fertilizers.

Being raised on a farm, I know how to grow “organic” food but can’t be bothered doing so.

Ahhh, A thread that is drivel right from the get-go…No thread-drift here…

" there is such a thing as “organic cotton.”

It has to make one wonder what inorganic cotton might be!

There are many connotations on the meaning of the word organic as Jos. has pointed out. To play one against another as if one is more right then another, is a waste of time.

Organic cotton is grown without fertilizer or pesticides. It’s quite expensive, even when grown in Egypt or some other low wage country. US grown cotton is an environmental nightmare by comparison. The boll wevil is a ferocious little insect and US cotton require lots of insecticides, fertilizer, etc. to be grown profitably.

Even Consumer Reports says than polyester or nylon is much more environmentally benign than US grown cotton.

Organic is stupid. Snake venom could be deemed organic, it does not mean it is good for you!