20 Important Pros and Cons of Petroleum - Green Coast (2022)

Is petroleum the best source of fuel for our day to day activities? Here are several pros and cons of petroleum that will help us have a clear picture of this product.

Petroleum is the most common as well as widely used fossil fuel around the world. As an energy resource, the product is obtained from the ground as a mixture of liquid, solid, and gaseous hydrocarbons. Besides the popularity, I bet it is quite crucial to also take note of the various pros and cons of petroleum.

As the environmental campaigns continue to create awareness, there have been great debates regarding the environmental benefits of petroleum versus environmental effects of petroleum.

Petroleum indeed has its advantages and downsides; therefore, it is important to weigh both sides of the product.

Here is a list of various pros and cons of petroleum that aim at informing us how petroleum affects our environment.

Advantages of Petroleum

Here are some of the major pros of petroleum oil.

  1. An Authoritative Energy Source That Can Be Used By Any Vehicle

One of the main benefits that have propelled the popularity of petroleum is that it is sturdy and can power up any vehicle. Whether diesel or gasoline engines, they all run by oil.

Cars that use petroleum as a source of energy can travel faster and cover longer distances. The use of petroleum is quite advantageous as it meets our needs to quickly get things done and move from one place to another.

  1. Stable And Reliable Energy Resource

The petroleum industry is a field that has been in existence since the 40th Century BC and has been evolving as time goes on. Nevertheless, one thing that remains constant is its usefulness and reliability compared to alternative sources of energy, such as solar and wind.

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With petroleum, achievable outcomes are easily predicted, which can be quite hard with solar and wind. Additionally, given that oil engines are a mature technology, they are rendered to be highly reliable.

  1. Petroleum is a Vital Element In Industrialization

As we noted earlier that petroleum is an authoritative energy source, it is also important to note that it is also an essential commodity in a wide array of industries. It is a critical and dominant player that enhances the growth of various industries.

The high heat value and its ability to power massive engines have made industries heavily rely on petroleum.

  1. Petroleum is Easily Extracted And At A Low Cost

With the evolution around the petroleum industry, the current technologies used to extract oil below the earth’s surface are quite advanced. The machinery used as well as techniques are sophisticated and developed, which makes the extraction process easy. The geological conditions and terrain are not a hindrance since some oil wells are drilled in the ocean.

Petroleum refinery technology has also made some huge steps thus making the refinery process quite easy. The adoption of the mechanization process has dramatically reduced the physical as well as technical tasks, thus minimizing the extraction costs.

Cheaper extraction and production costs result in more affordable petroleum products than most energy sources.

  1. Extraction of Petroleum is Safe

The extraction of oil beneath the ground is a mining activity, just like any other. Mining has been known to be quite a risky activity with people having to go tens of meters below the surface.

However, that is not the case with petroleum since the process is mechanized and no one needs to go underground.

  1. Transportation of Petroleum is Easy

Petroleum, as a raw product, is transported in liquid form to the refinery factories. This fact makes it easy to transport from one point to another.

Petroleum can be transported using pipes and vehicles. Besides, petroleum can also be carried through ships hence enabling transportation of this energy source around the world.

  1. Storage And Transportation Does Not Lead to Energy Loss

Unlike most energy resources that lose their potential energy levels with time, petroleum does not. During the shipment of some energy resources, they lose nearly half of their potential levels. At times, the energy resources can be I remote regions which might not be suitable to set up factories.

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Petroleum is quite the opposite as it can be transported miles away from the extraction location to the refinery factories without any alterations. Therefore, it is easy to set up refinery factories around populated centers for consumption rather than at the extraction sites. The product is thus accessible in remote locations at minimal costs.

  1. Petroleum Possesses Multiple Usages

Petroleum is one energy resource that offers numerous usage opportunities. It is an energy resource that can be refined to provide various forms of energy sources. When we refine the crude oil, it provides more useful products such as gasoline, asphalt base, diesel fuel, and kerosene, among many.

Due to the diverse uses of petroleum, it creates a possibility that nearly everyone uses this product at one point or another in a day. Gasoline is the most common form in which petroleum, and that we use every day.

This energy source is used to power up our transportation machines, and heating and lighting our homes, among many others.

  1. Act As A Strong Economic Background In Some Countries

It is undeniable that petroleum generates quite a handsome revenue. Some states which are known to have oil wells have indicated some substantial economic growth. In other states, petroleum extraction is the main economic activity that the country depends on, for instance, Kuwait.

A country like Kuwait, petroleum accounts for about half of its GDP as well as 95% of the government income and export revenues. In these regions, the improvement of the living standards, as well as infrastructures, hugely depend on how the petroleum industry fairs in the global market.

  1. Provision of Job Opportunities

According to some statistics collected in 2015, the total number of employments within the petroleum industry in the United States was 1.39 million individuals. In 2017, around 170,200 individuals were employed either directly or indirectly by the Norwegian Petroleum industry.

Besides, jobs within the petroleum industry have had a considerable impact on the increasing population within the Middle East.

  1. Petroleum is a Product In Creating Renewable Energy Resources

Whenever there are discussions about the pros and cons of petroleum, we always love to crucify petroleum for its inability to be renewable. I agree that renewable resources are environmentally friendly than nonrenewable resources. But, did you know petroleum plays a huge part in the creation of some of these renewable energy sources?

Well, if you don’t believe me, allow me to shed some light. The solar panels that capture solar energy require petroleum for their manufacturing. The photovoltaic panels need over a hundred liters of petroleum to manufacture only one panel.

  1. Petroleum is a Fuel with a High Density

Petroleum has such high density since it comprises of hydrocarbons which have an intense density level. An average of about 10,000 kilo-calories gets generated when we burn a kilogram of oil.

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The positive side of this fact is that we only need very small amounts of petroleum to create such huge amounts of energy.

  1. Petroleum Has Some Medical Aspects

Petroleum was used by the ancient Chinese as a medical solution for some skin problems. Currently, we use petroleum to manufacture petroleum jelly.

From a medical perspective, petroleum jelly possesses over twenty medicinal values. Additionally, fossil fuels, such as petroleum, have been known to produce anesthetics.

  1. Depleted Oil Fields Have The Potential to Be Productive

Once the oil levels diminish, and the oil runs dry, we no longer see any economic value on the land. However, even after the depletion of petroleum, we can restore these lands and be reuse them for some productive activity. The restoration and renovation process can take at most a year or less.

One can use the land to conserve the environment by planting trees and some vegetation such a grass. This restoration may as well turn it into a nature park for recreational purposes. The same applies to the mining drills in the sea/ocean.

Disadvantages of Petroleum

Having discussed the advantages, let us have a look at the downsides of petroleum. I believe that a critical analysis of both the pros and cons of petroleum will help us widen our perspectives about petroleum as an energy resource.

The cons of petroleum include:

  1. Environmental Pollution

The use of petroleum as a source of energy mostly involves combustion. Burning petroleum products leads to emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, hydro-fluorocarbons, and many more.

The greenhouse gases pollute the environment as they possess the ability to absorb the infrared radiation emitted from the surface of the earth, thus contributing to global warming.

  1. Oil Spillage

Petroleum can also pollute water bodies and significantly affect marine life. It is basic science that oil is less dense than water; hence, it floats on water.

If petroleum finds its way into water bodies, it will float on top of the water, thus forming a covering that will hinder aeration. Ways in which petroleum can spill into water bodies include faulty tankers in the ocean/sea.

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  1. Has Toxic Byproducts

When we extract petroleum as a raw matter, one ought to refine the crude oil. This is because, it typically exists as a mixture of hydrocarbons, traces of sulfuric as well as other compounds.

During the refining process, toxic gasses, such as carbon monoxide, are emitted together with some harmful materials, such as plastic.

  1. It is a Limited Resource

Petroleum, being a fossil fuel, is a scarce resource with high global demand. As a result, petroleum prices keep hiking as some oil wells dry out. Recent statistics indicated that we have already utilized over half of the oil reserves in the world.

Although it is a reliable source of energy currently, we can’t say that it will last forever. It is a non-renewable source of energy, meaning that once petroleum is extracted and consumed as a product, it can never be reused or replaced.

A significant decrease in petroleum supply might result in some nasty scenarios, and economic fights, for instance. Therefore, we need to put alternatives into place to supplement and reduce the over-reliance on petroleum.

  1. Used As A Tool For Political Gain

Due to human greed, what comes as a blessing turns into a curse. We all have heard cases where people and governments exploit petroleum for political gain. However, this mostly happens in countries where the Petroleum industry is the only main economic activity.

If a state over-relies on petroleum, ill-minded individuals can toss a state to and fro by controlling the petroleum industry based on selfish motives. The worst-hit region in the Middle East but the good news is that they are diversifying their economies to other domains besides petroleum.

  1. Regular Maintenance on the Infrastructure

Well, extracting oil is indeed straightforward. However, it is essential to note that the machinery, as well as any other equipment, require regular maintenance.

Intensive monitoring of the machine is involved, and maintenance has to be performed to prevent any accidents or oil spillage. The maintenance is quite engaging and demanding too.

Conclusion On Pros And Cons of Petroleum

It is agreeable that petroleum is such an essential product in our current world that will be hard to do without. Also, from our list of pros and cons of petroleum, the advantages happen to be more than the disadvantages.

However, this should not be a reason to ignore the environmental effects of petroleum.

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Do you think the advantages of using petroleum outweigh its disadvantages? Share with us in our comments.

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Green Coastis a renewable energy community solely focused on helping people better understand renewable energy technologies and the environment.


What are the pros and cons of using petroleum? ›

Pros and Cons of Petroleum

It is easy to extract but is a non-renewable, limited supply source of energy. Petroleum has a high power ratio and is easy to transport. However, the extraction process and the byproducts of the use of petroleum are toxic to the environment.

What are the pros of petroleum? ›

  • It can produce a large amount of energy.
  • Petroleum is a highly dense fuel source.
  • Its technology and infrastructure are already in place.
  • It can be used in a wide range of applications.

What are the cons of using petroleum provide at least 2? ›

What are the Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels?
  • Fossil Fuels are Nonrenewable. Non-renewable energy resources are estimated to deplete in the near future. ...
  • Dangerous to Produce. ...
  • Refinery and Oil Rig Explosions. ...
  • Water Pollution and Oil Spills. ...
  • Water Table Poisoning from Fracking. ...
  • Air Pollution and Smog. ...
  • Acid Rain. ...
  • Mercury Emission.
23 Mar 2021

What are the pros and cons of natural gas? ›

Natural gas is a cleaner alternative to oil and coal – and a “bridge” fuel to a renewable energy economy. Extracting natural gas through fracking is good for the economy and makes us less dependent on Middle East oil. Fracking wrecks the environment and causes earthquakes.

What are the 10 uses of petroleum? ›

Chemical fertilizers, synthetic fibres, insecticides, synthetic rubber, nylon, plastics, pesticides, perfumes, dyes, paints etc are the significant products produced using the major by-products like naphtha, grease, petroleum jelly, wax, butadiene etc.

What are the negative effects of petroleum? ›

7 ways oil and gas drilling is bad for the environment
  • Pollution impacts communities. ...
  • Dangerous emissions fuel climate change. ...
  • Oil and gas development can ruin wildlands. ...
  • Fossil fuel extraction turns visitors away. ...
  • Drilling disrupts wildlife habitat. ...
  • Oil spills can be deadly to animals.
9 Jul 2021

What are two important uses of petroleum? ›

Petroleum has historically been the largest major energy source for total annual U.S. energy consumption. We use petroleum products to propel vehicles, to heat buildings, and to produce electricity.

What are 5 negative effects of the oil industry on the environment? ›

Other environmental impacts include intensification of the greenhouse effect, acid rain, poorer water quality, groundwater contamination, among others. The oil and gas industry may also contribute to biodiversity loss as well as to the destruction of ecosystems that, in some cases, may be unique.

Is petroleum useful or harmful? ›

However, petroleum is a toxic chemical and not only harms the environment, but also human health. Exposure to petroleum-based products can cause different health effects, depending on the length of exposure and the concentration of petroleum in the product.

What are six uses of petroleum? ›

Petroleum products include transportation fuels, fuel oils for heating and electricity generation, asphalt and road oil, and feedstocks for making the chemicals, plastics, and synthetic materials that are in nearly everything we use.

What are 5 facts about petroleum? ›

Oil and Gas Energy Facts
  • Crude oil is formed from animal and plant matter. ...
  • Oil was used by ancient societies. ...
  • Crude oil creates more than one type of fuel. ...
  • Oil is used to create a multitude of products. ...
  • World's largest oil field. ...
  • Oil tankers are one of the real giants of the industry. ...
  • Oil is a major source of energy.
6 Jan 2022

What are 10 uses of natural gas? ›

Natural gas is used in manufacturing a huge range of chemicals such as acetic acid, ammonia, methanol, butane, propane, and ethane. Natural gas is used in making glass, steel, cement, bricks, ceramics, tile, paper, food products, and many other commodities as a heat source.

What are 3 pros about natural gas? ›

Whether produced via conventional or renewable methods, the advantages of natural gas as an alternative fuel include its domestic availability, established distribution network, relatively low cost, and emissions benefits.

What are the pros and cons of using solar power? ›

Pros and Cons of Solar Energy
Advantages of Solar EnergyDisadvantages of Solar Energy
Reduces Electricity BillsWeather Dependent
Diverse ApplicationsSolar Energy Storage is Expensive
Low Maintenance CostsUses a Lot of Space
Technology DevelopmentAssociated with Pollution
1 more row
7 Oct 2022

What are the pros and cons of hydrogen power? ›

Hydrogen fuel cells

Pros: No vehicle emissions other than water vapor. Fuel economy equivalent to about twice that of gasoline vehicles. Hydrogen is abundant, and can be made from renewable energy. Cons: This space-age technology is expensive.

Is petroleum harmful to the environment? ›

Even though new technology has addressed some of these problems to various extents, of most serious impacts of petroleum use is on global climate change. As a fossil fuel, its combustion contributes to polluting emissions, especially of carbon dioxide, one of the most dangerous of the greenhouse gases.

What are examples of petroleum? ›

Examples of petroleum products include kerosene, home heating oil, diesel fuel, and gasoline. Petroleum products are complex mixtures derived from crude oil and have similar chemical and physical properties.

What are 3 negative effects of oil on the environment? ›

harms animals and insects. prevents photosynthesis in plants. disrupts the food chain. takes a long time to recover.

How did petroleum affect people? ›

Studies of biomarkers have uncovered irreparable harm to humans exposed to oil and gas from spills. These effects can be grouped into respiratory damage, liver damage, decreased immunity, increased cancer risk, reproductive damage and higher levels of some toxics (hydrocarbons and heavy metals).

How does petroleum affect the world? ›

When petroleum products such as gasoline are burned for energy, they release toxic gases and high amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Carbon helps regulate the Earth's atmospheric temperature, and adding to the natural balance by burning fossil fuels adversely affects our climate.

What are 4 products of petroleum? ›

These petroleum products include gasoline, distillates such as diesel fuel and heating oil, jet fuel, petrochemical feedstocks, waxes, lubricating oils, and asphalt.

How many types of petroleum are there? ›

According to the Canadian Fuels Association, there are more than 150 different types of crude oil in the world.

How is petroleum used in life? ›

Many of our personal care products are derived from petroleum including perfume, hair dye, cosmetics (lipstick, makeup, foundation, eyeshadow, mascara, eyeliner), hand lotion, toothpaste, soap, shaving cream, deodorant, panty hose, combs, shampoo, eyeglasses, and contact lenses.

Is petroleum toxic to humans? ›

Adverse health effects can include skin irritation, eye irritation, dizziness, headache, nausea and, and in extreme cases, death (2). Because petroleum is widely used, unintentional acute releases can occur almost anywhere.

What pollution does petroleum cause? ›

They are also a major source of criteria air pollutants: particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Refineries also release less toxic hydrocarbons such as natural gas (methane) and other light volatile fuels and oils.

How does oil affect water? ›

Because oil spills are localized, they can severely contaminate beaches and sediment, and cause serious harm to marine wildlife. Oil spills can suffocate fish, get caught in the feathers of birds and mammals and block light from photosynthetic plants in the water.

What are 2 pros and 2 cons of fossil fuels? ›

Pros and Cons of Fossil Fuels
  • Advantages of Fossil Fuels. Advanced Technology. Cheap and Reliable. Highly Efficient. Easier transportation. ...
  • Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels. Major contributors of climate change and global warming. Major fuel reserves needed. Non-Renewable source of energy. ...
  • Conclusion regarding Fossil Fuels.

What is five disadvantages of fossil fuels? ›

Fossil fuels have been used for centuries to generate power, but there are many disadvantages associated with their use: Fossil fuels pollute the environment. Fossil fuels are non-renewable and unsustainable. Drilling for fossil fuels is a dangerous process.

How is petroleum found? ›

Where is petroleum found? Today petroleum is found in vast underground reservoirs where there were ancient seas. Petroleum reserves can be located beneath the land, or under the ocean. They extract their crude oil using giant drilling machines.

How is petroleum created? ›

Oil and gas are formed from organic material mainly deposited as sediments on the seabed and then broken down and transformed over millions of years. If there is a suitable combination of source rock, reservoir rock, cap rock and a trap in an area, recoverable oil and gas deposits may be discovered there.

Where is petroleum most used? ›

It is used to fuel most cars in the United States. But petroleum is also used to make many more products that we use on a daily basis. A majority of petroleum is turned into an energy source. Other than gasoline, petroleum can also be used to make heating oil, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and propane.

What were the first uses of petroleum? ›

Ancient Persians, 10th century Sumatrans and pre-Columbian Indians all believed that crude oil had medicinal benefits. Marco Polo found it used in the Caspian Sea region to treat camels for mange, and the first oil exported from Venezuela (in 1539) was intended as a gout treatment for the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

What was the first use of petroleum? ›

In I Ching, one of the earliest Chinese writings cites the use of oil in its raw state without refining was first discovered, extracted, and used in China in the first century BC. In addition, the Chinese were the first to use petroleum as fuel as early as the fourth century BC.

What is petroleum made from? ›

Petroleum products are fuels made from crude oil and hydrocarbons contained in natural gas. Petroleum products can also be made from coal, natural gas, and biomass.

What are 10 advantages of coal? ›

Advantages of Coal
  • Huge Global Reserves.
  • Not an Intermittent Energy Source.
  • Reliable Fuel.
  • Inexpensive Energy Source.
  • Independent of the Weather.
  • Plenty of Applications.
  • Compatible With Other Energy Sources.
  • Creates Jobs.
22 Feb 2021

What are 3 pros of fossil fuels? ›

 A major advantage of fossil fuels is their capacity to generate huge amounts of electricity in just a single location.  Fossil fuels are very easy to find.  When coal is used in power plants, they are very cost effective. Coal is also in abundant supply.

What is a good fuel class 10? ›

What is a good fuel? Ans. A good fuel is one which is cheap, easily available, easy to handle, transport, has proper ignition temperature and high calorific value.

What are the problems with using petroleum? ›

As a fossil fuel, its combustion contributes to polluting emissions, especially of carbon dioxide, one of the most dangerous of the greenhouse gases. Human contributions of greenhouse gases have modified the atmospheric greenhouse layer, which plays an important role in moderating global temperatures.

What are the main problems with petroleum? ›

Some major controversies of this industry include:
  • Cyberattacks on infrastructure.
  • Drilling and pipelines on Indigenous nations' lands.
  • Drilling and pipelines near national parks.
  • Environmental impact, such as water, natural habitats, and air quality.
  • Financial power of integrated oil companies.
  • Impact on climate change.
3 Oct 2022

How does petroleum affect the society? ›

Human health is affected by oil and gas in three ways: pollution from the extraction and processing of oil and gas; combustion of oil and gas causing air pollution; and greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas causing climate change.

What causes petroleum pollution? ›

Oil spills may be due to releases of crude oil from tankers, offshore platforms, drilling rigs and wells, as well as spills of refined petroleum products (such as gasoline, diesel) and their by-products, heavier fuels used by large ships such as bunker fuel, or the spill of any oily refuse or waste oil.

How does petroleum affect water? ›

One quart of oil poured down a storm drain can contaminate one million gallons of water. Water that goes down storm drains does not go to treatment plants. One pint of oil can produce a slick of approximately one acre of water.

Does petroleum cause water pollution? ›

Oil pollution can damage ecosystems, including plants and animals, and contaminate water for drinking and other purposes.


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