Gasoline is certified vegan. This is likely one of the tricky questions that newbie vegans have wondered about before starting a green and cruelty-free lifestyle. While gasoline and other petroleum products are in fact animal derivatives, their use is still considered ethical from a vegan standpoint.
If you have long been browsing through the articles on our website, you must already know that the best way to judge whether a particular product is vegan-friendly or not is to trace the components of that product back to their origin. If the product’s origin is completely plant-based, then we can say that it is fit for vegan consumption.
Of course, there are a few exemptions to every rule. In the case of gasoline, determining its source could make you think that gasoline is not vegan. However, there are some concepts and insights that you should also learn in order to make better reasoning.
Without further ado, we will explain in this article why is gasoline vegan, and why other devoted vegans who are avoiding petroleum products should reconsider their judgment.
How Is Gasoline Produced?
Before we begin our analysis as to how gasoline is a vegan product, we must clear up a few misconceptions surrounding the word. When we say “gasoline,” it is a type of fuel required by certain engines and vehicles to run or operate.
Gasoline, also known as petrol, is a transparent liquid that serves as fuel to spark-ignited internal combustion engines. In simpler terms, this kind of engine is called a petrol engine, which is the same engine used by most modern cars. It is comprised of organic compounds with the right chemical composition to provide energy to an engine when subjected to combustion.
The combustible organic compounds in gasoline are obtained when unrefined petroleum undergoes fractional distillation, removing all the impurities that the fossil fuel may contain prior to extraction. There are also special kinds of gasoline with chemical additives to increase engine efficiency.
There are many kinds of fuel aside from gasoline, so you might think that gasoline is an umbrella term that encompasses all fuel types. In that case, you are wrong. However, what relates gasoline to all other types of fuel is where they came from originally.
We already mentioned unrefined petroleum, also known as crude oil. This is the raw substance where gasoline and other engine fuel types are derived.
Where Can We Extract Gasoline?
Crude oil belongs to the family of fossil fuels, along with coal and natural gas. It’s a no-brainer why crude oil is classified as fossil fuel since it came from the remains of prehistoric organisms.
Crude oil can be found deep under the earth’s crust. The remains of organisms that have been dead for millions of years are embedded underneath sedimentary rock layers.
Being buried so deep into the ground, they are subjected to tremendous heating and pressurization. These natural processes would continue for a very long period of time until crude oil is formed out of the remains of organisms.
Now, these organisms can either be plants or animals, or both. No one can tell for sure what is the origin of the extracted crude oil in a particular area. It would be safe to assume that there would be at least traces of animal remains in crude oil, since prehistoric animals could have died with their carcasses buried randomly in different geographic locations, say in the middle of the desert or at the bottom of the ocean.
If Gasoline Comes From Animal Remains, Why Is It Considered Vegan?
At this point, we have established that there are derivatives of animal remains in gasoline. Since it has always been a part of our SOP to verify if there are animal derivatives in a certain product, we can easily conclude that gasoline is not vegan. While that conclusion has a very real basis, it is still incorrect. For the record, gasoline is still vegan.
Just imagine if vegans all over the world have considered gasoline as anti-vegan for being derived from dead animals. It would not only be gasoline but every other petroleum-based fuel like diesel fuel and kerosene.
With this point of view, all products and services in which petrol fuel is required should be avoided by vegans. Keep in mind that all the basic commodities that humans need to survive are being transported in cargo planes and ships. Therefore, we should also avoid all these products being transported by fuel-powered vehicles.
You must also know that electricity supplied by millions of households all over the globe, including yours, is generated in power plants that run on petroleum fuel. By declaring the latter as non-vegan, we should also be guilty about enjoying the appliances and gadgets in our home.
Vegans reading this article should have a big sigh of relief knowing that gasoline, in spite of being derived from the remains of animals, is still vegan. If not, then there would be only very few products and activities that you can subscribe to as vegans.
We will go deeper into the very definition of veganism to explain this special exemption for gasoline and other fossil fuel-derived products.
The True Essence Of Veganism
Now is high time for you to know that there is a distinction between veganism and vegetarianism. While both schools of thought thrive on living a clean and green lifestyle, vegetarians are only concerned about consuming products that are completely plant-based. Vegetarianism is actually applied only to food consumption.
Veganism, on the other hand, extends to other aspects of our daily lives. Most importantly, one should not only be fixed on consuming only plant-derived products. There is a bigger reason for avoiding animal byproducts.
The following is the excerpt from the definition of veganism as defined by the Vegan Society:
“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose…”
The main keywords in this definition of veganism are exploitation and cruelty. Our takeaway here is that being a vegan is not about avoiding all animal derivatives in products altogether. There is a bigger reason why we avoid animal byproducts. To be a vegan is not only for the sake of picking plant-based items over animal-based ones.
Because of human practices that we have grown accustomed to over the years, we have embraced the system of raising animals only to slaughter them and use their remains for our own survival and pleasure.
These practices are outright cruel since these animals are sentient beings with their own goals to survive in this world. A sentient being should be respected by allowing them to live on their own. Instead, humans give them the death sentence
Our excuse is that we need animals for our own survival. However, it is clear that we have other options, like choosing plant-based food to eat.
To make things simpler, vegans recognize the animals’ right to live their lives freely. Animals do not give us their consent to subject them to cruelty or slaughter them just for human’s sake.
Is The Consumption Of Animal-Derived Products Ever Ethical?
Now, we go back to our main topic, which is how come gasoline is vegan when it is in fact an animal-derived byproduct. Going back to the reasoning that we established earlier, we must recognize that animals do not exist merely for our survival. They have lives of their own that they should live however they want.
However, the dead animals from which fossil fuel is derived had lived long before humans entered the picture. We are talking about hundreds of millions of years in the past. In fact, these animals predate dinosaurs. They are mostly single-celled prehistoric organisms such as zooplankton.
These animals had lived their life and served their purpose in the environment before they died. Since no humans existed then, they were not subjected to the cruelty of human practices that exploit other organisms for survival. Therefore, animal exploitation is not the reason for these animals’ demise.
Since there is no exploitation and cruelty behind the formation of fossil fuel, we can say that all petroleum-based products are vegan-approved. Consider this as a rare instance when animal byproducts are accepted by vegans.
Gasoline and other petrol fuel being vegan is an antithesis to plant-based products being anti-vegan. Palm oil, for example, is non-vegan since the widespread harvesting of palm trees in forests badly affects the animals living in that ecosystem, particularly the orangutans.
To sum up everything, we conclude that gasoline is accepted in a vegan lifestyle. Vegans can drive cars, or purchase products transported by gasoline-powered ships and trucks. Vegans should also have no guilt about using petroleum-based items.
Although, we should keep in mind that veganism is related to environmental protection. Animals are part of this world, and protecting the environment is one way that we can save the animals from our bad human practices.
Too much dependence on fossil fuels to power up our houses and machines can negatively impact our environment. The first ones to suffer from the destruction of the environment are innocent animals. Pollution is something that we should be wary of every time we use gasoline and other petroleum fuel.
While gasoline is considered vegan, it would be better if we limit its use for the sake of saving the environment that we share with the other inhabitants of this world.