U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Frequently Asked Questions
How much oil is used to make plastic?
Although crude oil is a source of raw material (feedstock) for making plastics, it is not the major feedstock for plastics production in the United States. Plastics are produced from natural gas, feedstocks derived from natural gas processing, and feedstocks derived from crude oil refining.
Natural gas is used for process heat in the production of precursor chemicals and plastics and as a feedstock for those precursor chemicals. Petrochemical feedstock naphtha and other oils refined from crude oil are used as feedstock for petrochemical crackers that produce the basic building blocks for making plastics. However, the primary feedstock for U.S. petrochemical crackers are hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL), of which 82% were byproducts of natural gas processing in 2014. The remaining 18% of the HGL were produced by U.S. refineries and contain both alkanes and olefins. Alkanes can used as feedstock for petrochemical crackers, whereas refinery olefins, primarily propylene but also minor quantities of ethylene and butylenes, can be used as direct inputs into plastics manufacturing.
Last updated: April 25, 2016
Other FAQs about Crude Oil
- Do we have enough oil worldwide to meet our future needs?
- Does EIA have county-level energy production data?
- Does EIA have data on U.S. oil refineries and their locations?
- Does EIA have data on shale (or tight oil) production?
- Does EIA have data on the type or quality of crude oil?
- Does EIA have maps or information on the location of U.S. natural gas and oil pipelines?
- Does EIA have projections for energy production, consumption, and prices for individual states?
- Does the EIA have data on the movement of crude oil and petroleum products by rail and truck?
- How many gallons of diesel fuel and gasoline are made from one barrel of oil?
- How much coal, natural gas, or petroleum is used to generate a kilowatthour of electricity?
- When was the last refinery built in the United States?
- How much of the oil produced in the United States is consumed in the United States?
- How much oil consumed by the United States comes from foreign countries?
- How much oil is consumed in the United States?
- How much oil is used to make plastic?
- How much petroleum does the United States import and export?
- What are the products and uses of petroleum?
- What countries are the top net importers of oil?
- What do I pay for in a gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel?
- What is the difference between crude oil, petroleum products, and petroleum?
- What is the outlook for home heating fuel prices this winter?
- What types and amounts of energy are produced in each state?