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Did you know that a majority of products that you use every day are made from petroleum? Take a minute and look around you. If you’re in your kitchen, chances are you’re near a refrigerator, or a dishwasher, where you used dishwashing liquid to clean up last night’s dishes – the unbreakable kind. Perhaps the coffee machine is brewing your morning cup of joe. Or maybe you’re already at your office, using your glasses to read this. Your smartphone sits beside you, and this page appears on your computer screen after you found it by typing in a web address on your keyboard.

When you think of products made from petroleum, chances are, the first item that comes to mind is gasoline. Yet oil and natural gas are not just sources of energy that turn on our lights and power our cars, planes, water heaters and kitchen appliances. They are also important raw materials that happen to make lots of items you use every day – from your smartphone to your eyeglasses to the vitamins and medications you take.



Recycled plastics are converted into polyester fibers, which are often used in the fabric of curtains.

Ballpoint Pen

The exterior of ballpoint pens are often made with thermosetting plastics, or hydrocarbon phenolic resins, which remain permanently hard after being formed and cooled. The ink inside is made from particles of carbon black and polymer.

Computer Monitor

Nearly everything in a desktop computer is made of plastic. Polystyrene forms impact-resistant computer monitors and epoxy resins are used in computer motherboards to protect electrical components.


Printed photographs are typically made with purified terephthalic acid or low-density polyethylene (LDPE). These polyester resins are soft, flexible and are found in everything from bottles to film.


Hydrocarbons in oil are used to create an increasing variety of polymers – not only for plastics, but also to make fibers and other materials. The synthetic fibers of the cushion, plastic arm rests and wheels are made from petroleum based products.


Veneers are often made from laminate, a petroleum-based material frequently found in couches, chairs, desks and tables. Nearly all of the plastic polymers we use today are produced directly from oil and natural gas.



White oils are used as an adhesive to help form toothbrushes. Handles are typically made up of plastic and the bristles of nylon, both products of petroleum.

Vitamins & Medications

An active ingredient in many over-the-counter pain relievers is acetylsalicylic acid, more commonly known as aspirin, which is manufactured from petrochemicals.


A medicinal grade white oil, Marcol 82 is a versatile component found in shampoos, shaving cream and deodorant.

Other Bathroom Essentials

You can typically find antiseptics, made with petroleum resins, in the medicine cabinet next to bandages, also made with petroleum. Hair dryers, soft contact lenses, and even toothpaste tubes also contain oil derivatives.

Skin Care

Paraffin wax and mineral oil, both products of petrochemicals, are just some of the ingredients found in skin care products. A wide range of petrochemicals can also be found in perfume and cologne, which predominantly consist of synthetic compounds.



Linear polyethylene powder is poured into a mold for various parts, which are later bonded together to form the kayak.


The inside of a basketball is made of isobutylene-isoprene rubber (or butyl rubber). Isobutylene and isoprene are “usually obtained by the thermal cracking of natural gas or the lighter fractions of crude oil.” (Source:


Conventional fertilizers are commonly derived from petroleum. In fact, a single 40-pound bag contains the equivalent of 2.5 gallons of gasoline.

Gasoline & Motor Oil

Gasoline, a derivative of petroleum, helps power combustion engines. Motor oil acts as a lubricant to help these machines stay cool, while also preventing corrosion and reducing wear and tear on moving parts.

House Paint

Composed of synthetic and natural oils, oil-based paints provide a durable, slow-drying coat. For shorter drying time, latex paint, made with vinyl acetate, is also a popular option.

Awnings & Roofs

Petrochemicals help buildings stay strong and people stay cool; polyvinyl chloride, also know as PVC or vinyl, is found in roofing, and reflects up to three-quarters of the sun's rays.