In the News: There's Petroleum in That?

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There's Petroleum in That?

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The rising price of gasoline is frequently in the news these days, but it's easy to forget the other items made from petroleum. One expert suggested that 70 percent of products in a supermarket have some form of petroleum by-product in the item itself or in the packaging.

For instance, petroleum can often be found in antiseptics, baby strollers, balloons, bandages, cameras, clothing, computers, dentures, deodorant, food preservatives, glue, ink, medical equipment, shampoo, toothpaste and vitamin capsules, among other things.

In fact, in the United States, from each 42-gallon barrel of oil 34 gallons go to fuels of various kinds, while the rest goes to produce ingredients for products like those in the above list (Paul Wilson, "Gusher of Goods Made With Crude," The Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 5, 2008).

The price of oil contributes to the cost of more things than just fuel—something to ponder the next time you pick up a tube of toothpaste!