Petroleum Based Ink: Crude In Your Pen?

Petroleum Based Ink: Crude In Your Pen?

By on Apr 09 2013

Petroleum was once included in ink and was both fast drying and dependable. Changing oil prices and regulations pushed manufacturers away from petroleum based ink. Click here or read below to see what is used today in your pen.


Petroleum-based inks replaced inks made with vegetable oils before the 1960s because they were cheaper to make and dried more quickly, according to Quick-drying inks were especially appealing to the newspaper industry.


A petroleum-based solvent or vehicle effectively holds and carries the ink pigment, and petroleum-based resins enhance gloss. The vehicle helps to increase flow, workability, stability and binding to a surface after the ink dries, according to


Petroleum-based inks contain volatile organic compounds or VOCs that can cause respiratory irritation. Print shop workers are vulnerable to these emissions, which can also damage the ozone layer and help cause smog.


Crude oil prices rose dramatically in the 1970s and made petroleum-based products like ink more expensive. Newspapers began looking for alternatives to petroleum-based inks and began using soy oil ink. Soy oil has proved to be a good alternative to mineral oil. As of 2010, more than 90 percent of daily newspapers in the United States use it for color printing, according to the Soya website.

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From the E-commerce team at Petroleum Service Company

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