Surprising Ways Skyrocketing Oil Prices Could Hit Your Wallet

Rising prices and positive percentage price changes of Brent Crude Oil, Natural Gas and Heating Oil on a trading screen for commodities.

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Oil Prices Jump

Crude Awakening

President Biden has banned oil imports from Russia, and gas prices have soared to a new record. That's to be expected when crude oil prices skyrocket, but each 42-gallon barrel of oil only produces about 19 gallons of gas. Much of the rest of the barrel goes into making diesel, jet fuel, and other petrochemical products. But part of each barrel is also a crucial part of a surprising amount of things you use in your daily life — and the price of those goods stands to rise along with gas prices. Here are some household products you may not have known are made using oil. 

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Assortment of colorful gumballs and jelly candies in glass boxes


Many candies, including jelly beans and chocolate, contain or are coated with a paraffin-based wax to give them that glossy shine that everybody loves. Many artificial food dyes that color candy are also made from petroleum, though they're tested to be sure no trace of the original crude is left. And that gum you chew? It's not made from rubber anymore, but something called high-purity butylene, also a petrochemical product.

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Detergents cleansing liquid bottles
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Detergents, like the iconic bottle of Tide you pour into your washing machine, work thanks to surfactants. They're a type of dirt-removing chemical that both dissolve in water and are attracted to oils, which makes up most of what dirties our clothes. They are usually made from benzene, a prominent component of crude oil — and don't forget that plastic bottle your laundry detergent comes in.

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Close up African American woman applying toothpaste on toothbrush


No, not even your toothpaste is free from petroleum-derived products. Many use poloxamer 407, a petroleum derivative that helps oil-based ingredients to be dissolved in water-based products. And if your toothpaste has one of those bright blue minty-fresh stripes, there's a good chance that food dye is also a petrochemical product. 

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It's difficult to image life without smartphones, but that would be reality if petrochemical products weren't used in their manufacture. The circuit board inside your phone — and practically every other electronic gizmo, including computers and cars — is created on a plastic board. Polymers are also used in the housing, LCD display, and countless other components, not to mention the manufacturing process.

Related: 21 Things We Use All the Time That Didn't Exist a Decade or So Ago

New winter tires for sale in store


Yes, tires are made from rubber, but it's mostly synthetic rubber, which is derived from oil. Many of the other components of tires are also petrochemical-based, and the process of creating a tire requires oil. In all, every standard car tire requires seven gallons of oil to manufacture. No wonder they have such distinct smell when they're hot.

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Woman applying hand cream on her hand

Hand Lotion

You may think you're steering clear of petroleum-based products if you don't use Vasoline, but most moisturizing lotions contain some petrochemical ingredients. Mineral oil and petrolatum — that's the technical name for petroleum jelly — are both derived from crude oil and are used in many common skin creams and moisturizers. 

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Best Backpacks for Back-to-School


It turns out you have oil to thank for that overstuffed backpack. The durability of backpacks comes from petroleum-based materials. Most backpacks are made with nylon, a synthetic and water-resistant fiber that's usually made from plastic, which is itself derived from petroleum. Chances are there's also oil-based materials in the straps, clasps, zippers, and manufacturing process, too.  

Contact lenses and glasses on a white surface.
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Glasses and Contacts

Eyeglasses, prescription lenses, and contacts can be pricey, and the price may go up even more thanks to their reliance on oil products. Eyeglass frames and plastic lenses are made from durable polymers and polycarbonates, plus many of the lens coatings designed to protect against scratches or UV light are polymer-based, too. Contact lenses rely on polymers made from petrochemicals as well, a fact that might make the next time you put your contacts in a little weird. 

woman putting on nude pantyhose close up
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What's another name for pantyhose? Nylons. The stockings were one of the first mass-produced products made using the petrochemical-based material created by a DuPont scientist. They became a popular fashion accessory because they were durable and comfortable, and they're still going strong today.

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Crayon Macro Close Up


Coloring might get a little more expensive if crayon prices rise. Crayons are made primarily of paraffin, a waxy petrochemical solid that gives crayons their rich smoothness. It's also why crayons melt in direct sunlight, and can be removed from carpeting with an iron and a paper towel. 

Roofers installing new roof on house


Does your house or garage need a new roof? You might want to schedule it ASAP. Most residential roof shingles are made from asphalt because its durability goes a long way on your roof warranty. Asphalt, also known as bitumen, is the bottom-of-the-barrel crude oil, made from what's left after other useful products are extracted. That makes it cost effective, but who knows how long that will be true. 

Two Candles


Just when you thought those big Yankee Candle jars couldn't get any more expensive, the price of oil goes way up. All those wonderfully scented candles that fill your home with fragrance are made with paraffin derived from crude oil, the same as candy coatings and crayons.

Colorful lipstick


The product you use to color your lips is made with the same petroleum-based product your child uses to color on the walls: paraffin. That creamy texture and staying power comes in part from petrochemicals, and it's why petroleum jelly is so often used as a makeup remover.

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False teeth swim in transparent water glass
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Forget wooden teeth — today's dentures are made with acrylic resin and nylon, among other materials. The resin is colored with dyes that are often made from petrochemical sources, just like the food-safe dyes in processed foods. 

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Solar Panels

Ironically, solar panels, which produce electricity from sunlight, are still being manufactured with fossil fuels. Some components of the panels rely on petroleum-based resins and plastics in the photovoltaic cells. Scientists are working toward replacing those components with plant-based fibers, however.

Warehouse Carpet Store

Rugs and Carpets

Most wall-to-wall carpeting is synthetic, which means it's probably made from petroleum-based fibers like nylon or olefin. Materials vary a little more in area rugs, since they're easier to produce, so if you're looking for a natural option, stick to wool or cotton floor coverings.

Golf balls bucket

Golf Balls

If you're driving a golf ball farther than you used to, chances are you have petrochemicals to thank. Golf balls are made of several types of polymer that are designed to be springy and tough, including a thermoplastic outer layer and polybutadiene in the core. Golf clubs, too, have seen recent advances in technology, mostly due to innovative new polymer materials. 

Inserting a blank CD/DVD into a Laptop computer with copy space.


Compact discs revolutionized the computer and music industries, making data and music smaller than ever. The technology was invented in the 1970s and patented in the 1980s. Each disc starts with a layer of polycarbonate plastic made from petrochemicals bisphenol A and phosgene, to which aluminum and acrylic are attached.