Oil and gas in our lives – The garage

Tools, bikes, and sports equipment are all made with petrochemical products

By Cody Ciona
Photo: Getty Images

After a long winter, spring has finally arrived.  

With nice weather finally sticking around (knock on wood), it’s time to crack out the bikes, tools, and other things made possible by the petrochemical industry. 


  • The saddle or seat of the bike can be made of molded plastic such as nylon, derived from diamine acid extracted from crude oil. Seats can also be made from carbon fibre. 
  • Bike tires are made of a combination of natural rubber and synthetic rubbers made from naphtha, derived from oil. 


  • Tools like hammers, axes, and shovels, and rakes are common in the garage. Their handles can often be made from fiberglass, a plastic product that is reinforced with glass.  
  • Even containers like socket sets and portable toolboxes can be made from plastic.


  • Many paints are oil-based and contain organic solvents in the form of aliphatic compounds which are a form of hydrocarbon.  

Extension cords 

  • The rubber used for the outer sleeve in extension cords is usually made from polyvinyl chloride but can be also made from other synthetic rubbers. 

Sports equipment 

  • Garages provide easy storage for any manner of sports equipment. Dirt bike boots, for example, can be made from different types of plastic like polypropylene, or thermoplastic polyurethane.  

Storage Bins 

  • Plastic storage bins are made using thermoplastic polymers derived from petroleum. 

Petrochemicals help drive Canada’s $35-billion plastic production industry, which employs nearly 100,000 people. 

The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada estimates 70,000 products used by Canadians every day are made from plastics. 

Canada’s plastic industry is committed to advancing manufactured products in a so-called “circular economy.”  

“Compared to a traditional linear economy, where most of the products start as raw materials and are eventually thrown away in a landfill, a circular economy for plastics is an economic model where plastics never become waste,” says Elena Mantagaris, vice-president of plastics with the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC). “Rather, they are reused, recycled, and recovered at the end of their life so that they can forever stay in the economy as new products and new plastics.” 

From bikes to storage bins, oil and gas products play an important role in our everyday lives and can be found all over the garage. 

The unaltered reproduction of this content is free of charge with attribution to Canadian Energy Centre Ltd.