How Much Oil is in an Electric Vehicle?
When most people think about oil and natural gas, the first thing that comes to mind is the gas in the tank of their car. But there is actually much more to oil’s role, than meets the eye…
Oil, along with natural gas, has hundreds of different uses in a modern vehicle through petrochemicals.
Today’s infographic comes to us from American Fuel & Petrochemicals Manufacturers, and covers why oil is a critical material in making the EV revolution possible.
It turns out the many everyday materials we rely on from synthetic rubber to plastics to lubricants all come from petrochemicals.
The use of various polymers and plastics has several advantages for manufacturers and consumers:
- Easy to Shape
- Flame Retardant
Today, plastics can make up to 50% of a vehicle’s volume but only 10% of its weight. These plastics can be as strong as steel, but light enough to save on fuel and still maintain structural integrity.
This was not always the case, as oil’s use has evolved and grown over time.
Not Your Granddaddy’s Caddy
Plastics were not always a critical material in auto manufacturing industry, but over time plastics such as polypropylene and polyurethane became indispensable in the production of cars.
Rolls Royce was one of the first car manufacturers to boast about the use of plastics in its car interior. Over time, plastics have evolved into a critical material for reducing the overall weight of vehicles, allowing for more power and conveniences.
Rolls Royce uses phenol formaldehyde resin in its car interiors
Henry Ford experiments with an “all-plastic” car
About 20 lbs. of plastics is used in the average car
Manufacturers begin using plastic for interior decorations
Headlights, bumpers, fenders and tailgates become plastic
Engineered polymers first appear in semi-structural parts of the vehicle
The average car uses over 1000 plastic parts
Electric Dreams: Petrochemicals for EV Innovation
Plastics and other materials made using petrochemicals make vehicles more efficient by reducing a vehicle’s weight, and this comes at a very reasonable cost.
For every 10% in weight reduction, the fuel economy of a car improves roughly 5% to 7%. EV’s need to achieve weight reductions because the battery packs that power them can weigh over 1000 lbs, requiring more power.
Today, plastics and polymers are used for hundreds of individual parts in an electric vehicle.
Oil and the EV Future
Oil is most known as a source of fuel, but petrochemicals also have many other useful physical properties.
In fact, petrochemicals will play a critical role in the mass adoption of electric vehicles by reducing their weight and improving their ranges and efficiency. In According to IHS Chemical, the average car will use 775 lbs of plastic by 2020.
Although it seems counterintuitive, petrochemicals derived from oil and natural gas make the major advancements by today’s EVs possible – and the continued use of petrochemicals will mean that both EVS and traditional vehicles will become even lighter, faster, and more efficient.
Mapped: The Top Middle East Exports by Country
It’s more than just oil. This map of Middle East exports shows the top global product of each country by value.
Mapped: The Top Middle East Exports by Country
The Middle East is widely recognized for its significant role in the global energy market. However, countries in the region also foster other substantial industries, including metals, chemicals, and agriculture.
The graphic above uses 2021 exports data from The Observatory of Economic Complexity to help explain the economy of the Middle East.
Top Exports by Middle-Eastern Countries in 2021
In 2021, the Middle East’s exports reached a total value of $1.27 trillion. While the region lags behind Asia, Europe, and North America in global exports, it outpaces Africa and South America.
Despite many countries undertaking efforts to diversify their economies and reduce their oil dependence, most of the exports still come from fossil fuels.
|Country||Top Export (2021)||Top Export Value||Total Exports Value|
|🇦🇪 UAE||Crude petroleum||$58.5B||$296.0B|
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||Crude petroleum||$138.0B||$256.0B|
|🇶🇦 Qatar||Petroleum gas||$57.2B||$94.7B|
|🇮🇶 Iraq||Crude petroleum||$72.0B||$81.1B|
|🇰🇼 Kuwait||Crude petroleum||$40.1B||$58.2B|
|🇴🇲 Oman||Crude petroleum||$24.2B||$56.9B|
|🇪🇬 Egypt||Refined petroleum||$4.8B||$44.5B|
|🇧🇭 Bahrain||Refined petroleum||$4.3B||$15.0B|
|🇮🇷 Iran||Ethylene polymers||$3.2B||$14.0B|
|🇯🇴 Jordan||Potassic fertilizers||$1.2B||$12.0B|
|🇾🇪 Yemen||Crude petroleum||$1.1B||$2.0B|
|🇵🇸 Palestine||Building stone||$0.2B||$1.5B|
|🇸🇾 Syria||Pure olive oil||$0.1B||$1.0B|
The Middle East accounts for one-third of global oil production, producing over 30 million barrels per day. Five of the world’s top 10 oil producers are located in the region.
But some countries like Türkiye show off more diverse economies. The country’s exports range from minerals to machinery and textiles, with cars as its top export. The country is actually one of the world’s top automotive exporters.
Israel is another of the Middle East’s most diverse economies. The country’s major exports encompass electronics, software, and refined petroleum, but cut diamonds rank as the country’s largest single export by value.
Iran has tapped into its ample reserves of oil and natural gas in a different way, becoming a significant producer of plastics. Presently, plastics and rubbers constitute one-quarter of Iran’s exports.
How the Middle East Impacts the Global Economy
Given that the oil sector is one of the most significant in the global economy in terms of both volume and transaction value, many Middle Eastern countries are substantial players in international politics.
Nations such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE have direct impact on the oil market and play a pivotal role in determining the price of the commodity.
Due to the region’s massive exports (and imports of goods), and the importance of oil and gas in goods manufacturing worldwide, regional conflicts by Middle Eastern countries also impact global markets directly.
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