As a nation we are not only dependent on petroleum for transportation fuels and heating oil, but for a long list of products that we utilize daily without knowing the association with oil. We use and rely on petroleum daily, in a multitude of ways: from the gas in our cars to the fertilizer and pesticides used for our crops, even the clothes we wear! Although a large percentage of the oil we refine does go toward fueling our transportation needs and heating our homes. Believe it or not, some of the petroleum we are unknowingly dependent on is refined into chemicals which are the building blocks for many products that are used in everyday life. Products such as rubber, plastics, nylon, vinyl and even polyester which are all derived from petrochemicals.
Examples of products we use (or encounter) every day that contain petroleum are:
BUNKER FUEL Bunker fuel, which is also know as heavy oil, is used to power ships. It typically contains a high number of pollutants and contaminants. Use is increasing with the shipping associated with global commerce.
DETERGENT All soapless detergents used to wash clothes and dishes are derived from the petrochemical glycerin.
PLASTICS All plastic, unless it is “bioplastic”, is made from petrochemicals. Every product made from or containing plastic is a product that exists only through the distillation of petroleum.
JET FUEL The standard type of jet fuel, Jet A, is a petroleum product with a number of additives to prevent sparking, gumming, corrosion, and icing.
DIESEL FUEL Diesel, unless it is “biodiesel”, is made from refining crude oil. It is generally used in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles requiring a great deal of power and torque, like garbage trucks, road equipment, buses, and trains.
HEATING OIL Heating oil is a petroleum product used to fuel furnaces or boilers. In the U.S., most heating oil is consumed in the northeast.
SYNTHETIC RUBBER- Synthetic rubber is used for car tires and rubber soles on shoes. The demand for synthetic rubber is four times greater than that for natural rubber.
SYNTHETIC FIBERS- Polyester, nylon, and acrylic are all derived from petrochemicals. They are used for curtains, carpets, rope and even our everyday clothing.
FERTILIZERS & PESTICIDES- All major commercial fertilizers are ammonia based, made from natural gas, and most commercial pesticides come from oil.
PAINT -Plastic and oil based paints, as well as paint additives, are manufactured from petrochemicals.
GASOLINE- Gasoline is the most commonly used product by Americans for their day to day transportation needs. 45% of all oil used in the U.S. goes to gasoline, which means we consume in excess of 180 million gallons of gasoline a day.
PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM - Pertochemical ethylene is what is used in photographic film.
FOOD ADDITIVES - The shelf life of canned foods can be increased by food additives, derived from petrochemicals.
MAKE UP - Make-up’s that contain oils, perfumes, waxes and color, are derived from petrochemicals.
MEDICINE - Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), the active ingredient in many pain reliever medicines, is manufactured from petrochemicals.
CANDLES - Wax is a raw petroleum product.