Uses for Oil

Canadians consume a lot of products made from oil. In fact, Canadians used 110 billion litres of refined oil products in 2018. Oil is an important part of daily life in Canada and the world for transportation, heating our homes, and plastics used in clothing, electronics, and more.

Oil is an important part of daily life in Canada and all over the world. Canada consumes 1.5 million barrels of oil per day making up 2.5% of the world’s consumption. This powerful source of energy moves us, heats our homes and is a component of many everyday products.

Petroleum in Real Life: Home Heating

Natural gas is abundant and widely available in Canada; it burns cleanly in furnaces and boilers that operate at efficiencies greater than 95 per cent.

Canadian Fuels Association, 2022

How is Oil Used in Canada?

Average Output from a Barrel of Oil

Did you know the average barrel of oil does much more than just put gasoline in your car? In fact, oil is used to create a wide range of products, such as propane, asphalt, petrochemical feedstocks and more.

Using Oil as a Transportation Fuel

Most Canadian oil is used for transportation fuels, essential to the mobility of people, goods, and services. According to Statistics Canada, in 2017 there were 34.3 million vehicles registered in Canada, primarily powered by gasoline, diesel and natural gas. Refineries turn crude oil into usable products such as transportation fuels – gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuels.

Gasoline: Designed for internal combustion engines, commonly used in private and commercial vehicles.

Diesel: Designed for engines commonly used in trucks, buses and public transport, locomotives, farm and heavy equipment. Diesel contains more energy and power density than gasoline.

Aviation fuels: Specialized petroleum-based fuels used to power various types of aircraft for commercial travel and shipping.

A montage of images of petroleum products


Due to insulating and heat resistant properties, plastics and other petroleum-based products are used in electronic components. From your speakers and smartphones to your computers, cameras, and televisions, most electronics have components derived from oil.


Clothing is commonly made from petroleum-based fibers including acrylic, rayon, vegan leather, polyester, nylon and spandex. Even shoes and purses use petrochemicals for their lightweight, durable, and water resistant properties.

Sporting Goods

Many common sports equipment contains some petroleum including basketballs, golf balls and bags, football helmets, surfboards, skis, tennis rackets and fishing rods.

Health & Beauty Products

Many of our personal care products are derived from petroleum including perfume, hair dye, cosmetics (lipstick, makeup, foundation, eyeshadow, mascara, eyeliner), hand lotion, toothpaste, soap, shaving cream, deodorant, panty hose, combs, shampoo, eyeglasses, and contact lenses.

Medical Supplies

Modern health care relies on petroleum products that have few substitutes. Plastics are used in a wide-range of medical devices and petrochemicals are relied on for pharmaceuticals. Products include hospital equipment, IV bags, aspirin, antihistamines, artificial limbs, dentures, hearing aids, heart valves and many more.

Household Products

Our homes are full of products that used petroleum in their production. From construction materials such as roofing and housing insulation to linoleum flooring, furniture, appliances and home decor such as pillows, curtains, rugs, and house paint. Even many everyday kitchen items including dishes, cups, non-stick pans, and dish detergent use oil in their creation.

How Many Petroleum Products Did You Use Today?