20 Ways to Reduce Your Dependence on Oil

It’s happened again: An oil spill, this time near Port Arthur, Texas. According to the U.S. Coastguard, 462,000 gallons of oil spilled into the water when a tanker collided with a towing barge on Saturday. According to an AP article on msnbc.com, crews scrambled to protect two “sensitive wildlife areas” — a lake that is prime breeding ground, and a wildlife management area.

If this latest oil spill has you thinking we need to look for alternatives to oil, get ready to make some changes to do your part to reduce America’s addiction to oil. Whether you go for a big change or keep it simple, every little thing you do sends a message.

20 Ways to Reduce Your Oil Consumption

  1. Switch to a push mower that is powered by none other than you.
  2. Plant gardens to reduce the amount of lawn that needs cutting.
  3. Park the car; walk, bike, and take public transit whenever possible.
  4. Avoid buying plastic toys and goods when an alternative is available.
  5. Don’t use plastic bags; stick to cloth reusable bags that can be washed frequently.
  6. Putting on a new roof this spring? Avoid tar in favor of a tile product (metal or clay).
  7. Switch to soy-based printing inks (most are petroleum-based).
  8. Avoid life vests, umbrellas, luggage, and other products made from nylon, a petroleum-based material. Instead, look for alternatives, such as luggage made from recycled plastic (better to reuse what we’ve already processed).
  9. Ditch nylon and polyester clothing; buy natural fibers instead.
  10. Wax the floors with beeswax instead of a petroleum-based commercial wax.
  11. Beware of perfumes made with petrochemicals; look for all-natural scents made with essential oils.
  12. Next time you have a headache, try a couple of big glasses of water before popping an Aspirin (yep, it too is made with oil products); most headaches are caused by dehydration.
  13. Craft with natural fibers such as cotton, wool or alpaca rather than polyester yarn.
  14. Purchase all-natural lip tints or lipstick; typical lipstick and lipgloss are made with oil products.
  15. Remodeling the bathroom? Glass in your shower and you won’t need a plastic shower curtain.
  16. Buy beeswax crayons; those Crayolas (and other brands) are made from oil.
  17. Wear eyeglasses; soft contact lenses are made with petroleum products. (Plastic eyeglass lenses and frame are made with oil, but you’ll wear them a lot longer than most contacts, and you can donate them to charity when you upgrade.)
  18. Stick with a wood deck. Plastic wood (like all plastics) is made from oil.
  19. Embrace your natural hair color, or choose an all-natural hair color alternative such as henna.
  20. Make boo-boos better with natural plant antiseptics, such as St. John’s Wort, lavender, tea tree oil, or eucalyptus; many commercial brands contain oil products.

Check out the 10 most surprising places to find petroleum.

By Cara Smusiak, Planet Green


Greta L
Greta L2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Richard B
Past Member 3 months ago


William C
William Cabout a year ago

Thank you.

W. C
W. Cabout a year ago

Thanks for the information.

LMj Sunshine
James merritt jr6 years ago

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine
James merritt jr6 years ago

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine
James merritt jr6 years ago

Thank you.

Lainy Feffer
Lainy Feffer7 years ago

Look serioisly at your fifteenth suggestion again. "Glass in your shower"! Do you seiously want the danger of broken glass in your shower? Or do you shower fully clothed wearing thick-soled boots?

The only alternative to a plastic shower curtain is a transparent hard plastic panel like I have, which I don't like, but no one has yet suggested to me a safe sensible alternative.

I love receiving any suggestions about things to use instead of what I currently do. But they must be safe.

Vanessa S.
Vanessa S7 years ago

Dear Friend,

Pollution from the Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants prematurely kills 42 people every year. That human cost is paid entirely by the communities who live in the shadows of these two aging plants. You won’t find it on Edison International’s bottom-line.

But the community in Chicago is fighting back. And we have an important role to play in supporting them.

Edison International is a national company and is part of a broader industry that affects all of us. They need to hear the message not just from community activists, but from the American public.

Join me and tell Edison International CEO Ted Craver to shut down the Fisk and Crawford plants by clicking the link below...


Abbe A.
Azaima A7 years ago

I'm all for more garden, less lawn.