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The Light Load: 1 pork platter, hold the Louisiana Light Sweet

When crude oil and condiments collide

Know your condiments: One of these things is not like the other. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Dear ExxonMobil, Quaker State and J.R. Ewing: Can I be in the room the next time somebody gets to name a newly discovered, blended or synthesized oil?

No really. I’ve now read enough diesel-related stories at FreightWaves to believe that the people who come up with names like “Bayou Choctaw Sour” have the indisputably best job in all of fuel marketdom, maybe in all the world. (I’d wager it’s at least as fun as nicknaming the latest marmot , hippo or plucky wildebeest at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium .)

I mean, who in the name of Pennzoil had the perfect brainstorm to conjure up “Louisiana light sweet crude”? Now don’t get all Google-y and start slinging the correct answer at me like a Liverpool pubfly who’s just cracked open a barrel of gin-marinated darts . Some things are more fun to ponder than to know.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but exactly what does Louisiana light sweet sound like to you? To me it stirs terrifying visions of Splenda-spiced diet barbecue sauce in 96-ounce bottles bearing the image of an emaciated bayou chef and bulging forlornly from the 90%-off bin at Food City — next to the pitiful 24-packs of Faygo Vanilla Creme Soda .

(Fun fact: I get twice the results Googling “Louisiana ‘light sweet’ crude” than querying “Louisiana ‘sweet light’ crude,” but go with what moves you. It’s all low-cal barbecue sauce to me.)

Things get more — not less — entertaining from there.

The good folks at an internet concern by the name of Petro Online advise that something called “Brent Blend” is another of the inexplicable-but-for-Google names of a particular breed of oil.

As a son of Appalachia first by birth and then by choice, I’m allowed to say this: Plenty of the region’s ancestors would have had a jollier take on the meaning of any term formed by positioning a person’s first name in front of the word “blend.” I’d bet the family moonshine still on it. (Looking at you, Grandpa Cofer and Pappaw Poole.)

And don’t even get me started on the “OPEC Basket,” which evidently represents the average price of a passel of oils from member states. OK, do get me started, but you asked for it: “ A tisket, a tasket, an OPEC Easter Basket … .” (Don’t go crying in the root beer now. I asked you not to get me started before I asked you to get me started.)

Then there’s an apparently high-quality crude dubbed WTI. It’s short for West Texas Intermediate, which smacks of a middle school football powerhouse out Midland-Odessa way. By unhappy happenstance, the acronym sounds like either a Canadian wrestling federation or an obscure flip phone manufacturer from the ’90s.

I’ll close with just a few others, courtesy of experts at BP and elsewhere who have been tracking this stuff for a long time :

  • Amenam Blend — could double as candy-coated chocolate in a variety of colors.
  • Amenam Blend/Mars — could double as candy-coated chocolate and peanuts in a variety of colors.
  • Arabian Light — now they’re appropriating coffee bean lingo.
  • Asgard (or rather, “Åsgard”) Blend — pretentious, sure, but Thor- and Loki-approved.

The Light Load is an occasional look at the world of transportation and logistics through the eyes of an industry greenhorn.

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Steve Barrett

A copy editor for FreightWaves since 2019, Steve Barrett has worked as an editor and/or reporter for The Associated Press as well as newspapers in Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Nebraska. He also served as a senior managing editor for a medical marketing company, collaborating with some of the nation's most respected health care organizations and specialists in major markets in New York and Pennsylvania. He earned a Master of Mass Communications degree from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from the University of South Dakota.