10 Surprising and Unexpected Uses of Oil

The main use of petroleum wouldn’t surprise you at all. About 50 percent of the oil we use goes into making gasoline. In fact, about 70 percent is used for transportation in general. But oil and its byproducts also go into making a whole host of other products that you might not expect. Let’s look at the 10 most surprising.

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1. Sports equipment

Sports today wouldn’t be the same without petroleum. Modern golf balls, golf bags, footballs, football cleats, artificial turf, basketballs, tennis rackets, skis, soccer balls — they’re all made, in part, with petroleum in one form or another.

2. Chewing gum

That’s right. Sorry if you just spit your chewing gum out in surprise, but yes, it contains petroleum. Ever wonder where that soft, chewy quality comes from? Partially from oil. Most gum wrappers just mention a “gum base” when listing ingredients. That base includes waxes, petroleum, stearic acid, glycerin, lanolin and other components. So the next time you stop at the gas station to fill up and grab a pack of gum, now you know that you and your car are enjoying a similar fossil-fuel-based treat.