What will happen to plastics if we phase at gasoline transportation?

  • 1 Replies

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Offline jckatz

  • First timers
  • *
  • 3
    • View Profile
Everything in our society seems to be connected to OIL.  We think about our cars running on gasoline and our planes running on jet fuel.

However everything in our society seems to be made from plastics which is a by-product of petroleum refining.

What will happen to plastics, chemical fertilizer and who knows what else if petroleum demand declines because of electric, hydrogen, or other future technology cars?


Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • 6321
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Nitrogen fertilizer is made using hydrogen gas, which can be from any source including hydrolysis or more commonly using natural gas (either from specific gas wells, or from oil production).  As long as there is demand, no doubt we will seek sources of natural gas.

There are both organic based and inorganic based plastics.  Crude oil is separated using distillation.  Some components such as road tar would require also the distillation of the lighter components.  However, if there is excess heavier components from the distillation, they will be "cracked" to form more usable compounds such as auto fuel.  I'm not sure what is used to make the plastics, but potentially it isn't necessary to discard the auto fuel.

Anyway, I don't see a reduction in demand for crude oil significantly harming the plastics and fertilizer industries.  With supply and demand, perhaps prices would fall.  However, a century or two from now, humans could find ourselves in a pickle as petroleum supply dwindles.