Trust & Verify: What products are made from crude oil?

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
FILE – In this Wednesday, April 8, 2020 file photo, the sun sets behind an idle pump jack near Karnes City, USA. The OPEC oil cartel and allied countries are meeting to decide on production. The meeting is being closely watched because oil markets are tight and the price of crude is just off a three-year high as the global economy bounces back from the pandemic. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

We are already feeling the pain at the pump after the U.S. ban on Russian oil but that pain may start spreading to the grocery store, the pharmacy – even the makeup aisle.

More than 6,000 products you use every day are made with petrochemicals that come from oil and natural gas.

“We don’t have deep pockets but we’ll pay a little more. Yes,” says Karen Rauth who fully supports the ban on Russian oil if it means supporting Ukraine.

“Anything we can do, if that means the price goes up in oil and gasoline, so be it,” says Rauth.

What about the price of everything else? Mascara, cold and flu capsules, bandaids, shampoo and conditioner, vitamins, even purses and shoes are using chemicals created when crude oil is heated to certain temperatures.

Petrochemicals are responsible for things like artificial coloring that can be found in foods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

“As long as Russia stays in Ukraine and these sanctions stay in place, these things will start bubbling to the surface over the next month or two,” says Dr. Tom Smythe, Professor of Finance at FGCU.

Smythe says while the United States is not nearly as dependent on Russian oil as European countries – we are still taking a hit as the global markets do cartwheels hour by hour. Some minerals used for microchips in TVs, phones and laptops are found primarily in Russia and Ukraine.

“We’ve already got a microchip problem due to the supply chain so this would exacerbate it,” says Dr. Smythe.

U.S. plastic and other exports made from natural gas are now in high demand overseas as European countries dependent on crude oil from Russia look for other suppliers.

Dr. Smythe says here in the U.S. we must replace our dependence on foreign oil with oil independence, a task that is difficult under Biden’s green energy initiatives and certainly won’t drop those gas prices any time soon.

“I believe the Biden Administration is at a substantial focal point right now where they may have to give up some of their clean energy goals but postpone a little bit if they really want to make an impact on prices at the pump. Still, releasing strategic reserves, eliminating gas taxes except for possibly in California, for the most part – that is not going to have a substantial impact,” says Smythe. “What we need is to replace the supply of oil that we are no longer having access to on the global markets.”

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