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Oil #1: We Buy Oil

Oil is everywhere, and in nearly everything: Our phones, our clothes, our food, and our medicine. It has driven industrial progress and technology. It has shaped our civilization, powered its rise. Despite all this, oil has exacted an enormous price: our climate is changing, smog is smothering cities around the world. That all comes, in part, from burning fossil fuels like oil.

Yet — how many of us have actually seen crude oil? How does it get from ground to gas tank? And who are the people along the way turning thick black crude into light, clear, gasoline. Oil companies are some of the largest businesses on earth, but there are thousands and thousands of tiny operations that are just as essential to the oil industry. We wanted to get to know them.

Here at Planet Money, we thought the best way to see into the business of oil would be to get into the business of oil. Today on the show, that's exactly what we're going to do, starting with a briefcase full of cash and plane tickets to Kansas.

Find the rest of the five part series here. And some photos here.

Music: "Wasting Away" and "Feel It Now." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.