What can you make from crude oil or natural gas? Well, maybe it’d be easier to list what you can’t make – because the list of what starts with petrochemicals (the chemicals produced from oil, and natural gas too) is thousands and thousands of items long. And what’s on that list, are the things of everyday life (and some pretty “wow” futuristic items too).
In the everyday category – pick a room in your house, and there almost certainly is something made from petrochemicals:
- KITCHEN: Your refrigerator. The plastic wrap around the food in your refrigerator. The plastic containers in your refrigerator. The counter-tops (if they’re new).
- BATHROOM: Your shampoo bottles – bandages – aspirin – comb.
- ALL AROUND THE HOUSE: Carpets – linoleum – pillows – mattresses – DVDs and flat-screen TVs – tape (the sticky kind) – cellphones – suitcases – plumbing – insulation.
- OH, AND THE GARAGE: Besides the car (dashboard, seats and even in some cases the body) – basketballs – footballs – fishing lures – bike tires – motorcycle helmet – tents – sleeping bags – golf balls.
Petrochemicals are also used to make solar panels (if you’ve got them), and the high-tech thermostat that controls that heat – petrochemicals are part of that too. Same with your energy-saving LED lights – producing them starts with petrochemicals.
And on the “wow” list? How about glue that closes wounds instead of stitches? A (3D) printed prosthetic hand? Polymer-based armor that’s tougher than today’s bulletproof vests? Plastic that’s strong enough to replace metal? Foam that replaces soil for rooftop farms
And since we’re talking futuristic, yeah, the rocket fuel that’s going to propel the space shuttle into outer space on that first expedition to Mars.
Did you know that you can improve your fuel economy just by adopting good driving habits? Below are our top 12 gas saving tips to help you save at the pump!
- Change your air filter! Nearly a quarter of cars on the road need a new air filter. A clean air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%.
- Get a Tune Up! Make sure you properly maintain your car and get regular tune ups. A properly maintained engine can improve gas mileage by up to 4%.
- Pump Up Those Tires! More than one in four vehicles on the road are driving on under-inflated tires. The average under-inflation (7.5 pounds!) causes a 2.8% drop in fuel efficiency.
- Follow the speed limit. Really. For every 5 mph you reduce your highway speed, you can reduce fuel consumption by 7%.
- Get Aligned! Getting an alignment not only reduces wear on your tires, but gives your engine a break. Align your tires and save up to 10% .
- Use That Cruise! Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
- Combine short trips! Warm engines run more efficiently than cold ones. Combining short errands into one trip is an efficient way to save on gas – and on your valuable time.
- Tighten That Gas Cap! Did you know that nearly 17% of cars on the road have a broken or missing gas cap? A loose gas cap allows fumes from your tank to escape more easily and can hurt fuel economy.
- Take that Junk Out of Your Trunk! Lighten your load by removing excess baggage from your car. Extra weight in the car creates a drag on the engine and consumes extra gas. For every 100 pounds carried, your vehicle loses 1 to 2% fuel efficiency.
- Don’t Idle! Idling wastes gas. If you’re stopped for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine to save on gas.
- Close Your Windows When Driving at High Speeds! Sometimes you just want to feel that breeze in your hair but it may not be the most fuel efficient way to travel. Closing your windows will keep your car more aerodynamic at high speeds and can save up to 10% in fuel efficiency.
- Drive More Smoothly and Don’t Ride Your Brakes! It can be tempting to put the pedal to the metal when the light turns green, but doing that can empty your gas tank (and wallet) quicker than you think. Studies have shown that accelerating moderately and stopping gradually may cut gas consumption by as much as 35%.