U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Frequently Asked Questions
How much oil is used to make plastic?
In the United States, plastics are not made from crude oil. They are manufactured from petroleum products, which include liquid petroleum gases (LPG) and natural gas liquids (NGL), and natural gas. LPG are by-products of petroleum refining and natural gas processing, and NGL are removed from natural gas before it enters transmission pipelines. These fuels are used as feedstocks to make the plastic and as fuels in the manufacturing process.
In 20101, about 191 million barrels of LPG and NGL were used in the United States to make plastic products in the plastic materials and resins industry, which was equal to about 2.7% of total U.S. petroleum consumption. Of those 191 million barrels, 190 million barrels were used as feedstock and 1 million barrels were consumed as fuel to manufacture these products.
In addition to LPG and NGL, about 412 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas were used to make plastic materials and resins in 2010. This was equal to about 1.7% of total U.S. natural gas consumption. Of the 412 Bcf of natural gas,13 Bcf were used as feedstock, and 399 Bcf were consumed as fuel to manufacture these products.
In addition to petroleum products and natural gas, about 65 billion kilowatthours of electricity were used to manufacture plastics in 2010, equal to about 1.7% of total U.S. electricity consumption.
EIA does not have data on the quantity of plastic materials and resins produced in the United States or on the origin of all the plastic products used in the United States. EIA does not have similar data for other countries.
1 The most recent year for which data are available.
Last updated: June 18, 2014
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 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 sources?
- 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 from where?
- What are the products and uses of petroleum?
- What countries are the top world oil net importers?
- 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?