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: Plexiglass
How it’s made
No matter what you call it, plexiglass is a transparent, petroleum-based thermoplastic product – an acrylic. Manufacture starts with the distillation of hydrocarbon fuels into lighter ‘fractions’ that are combined with other catalysts to produce plastics (typically via polymerization).
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.
Oil in Everyday Products
Plastics are made from oil
Crude oils are sent to refineries where they become feedstock. The feedstock is used in petrochemical plants and turned into plastic to make essential products used in our everyday lives. More than 6,000 everyday products get their start from oil, including dishwashing liquid, solar panels, food preservatives, eyeglasses, DVDs, children’s toys, tires and heart valves. Here are some of the common petroleum products that are an important part of our modern lifestyle.
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.
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.
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.
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.