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Sweet crude oil is a type of petroleum. The New York Mercantile Exchange designates petroleum with less than 0.42% sulfur as "sweet". Petroleum containing higher levels of sulfur is called sour crude oil.
Sweet crude oil contains small amounts of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide. High-quality, low-sulfur crude oil is commonly used for processing into gasoline and is in high demand, particularly in the industrialized nations. "Light sweet crude oil" is the most sought-after version of crude oil as it contains a disproportionately large fraction that is directly processed (fractionation) into gasoline (naphtha), kerosene, and high-quality diesel (gas oil). The term "sweet" originates from the fact that a low level of sulfur provides the oil with a mildly sweet taste and pleasant smell. Nineteenth century prospectors would taste and smell small quantities of oil to determine its quality. Actual ingestion of oil is not advised.
Producers of sweet crude oil include:
The term "price of oil", as used in the U.S. media, generally means the cost per barrel (42 U.S. gallons) of West Texas Intermediate Crude, to be delivered to Cushing, Oklahoma during the upcoming month. This information is available from NYMEX or the U.S. Energy Information Administration.