How Are Natural Resources Used in the Transportation Sector?

How are natural resources used in transportation

Bikes, trains, family cars, buses, trucks, planes, and ships are all types of transportation that are deeply ingrained into our daily lives. To get from point A to B to C and back again, we require safe and reliable methods of transport, all of which utilize huge amounts of natural resources such as crude oil, natural gas, metals and electricity.

Canada, in particular, is a vast country - the second largest in the world - and getting around our diverse and sprawling landscapes requires using machines or devices that are made with and consume natural resources. Although we do not see the processes behind manufacturing motor vehicles, skateboards or bicycles, it's important we realize how seamlessly integrated natural resources are into transportation and other aspects of our modern-day lifestyle.

It's easy to take modern transportation methods for granted in Canada as we have direct access to an abundance of natural resources and associated industries that amply supply us with such products.

So, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the natural resources that are vital to the transportation activities we partake in every day. Keep reading to learn the facts on natural resources and transportation in Canada! Also see:

Natural Resources in Recreational Transportation

natural resources used in bicycling mountains

Canadian natural resources are used in everyday transportation such as bicycles, cars and leisure equipment, making these devices easy to take for granted. Here is a reminder of some of the essential transportation technologies that keep our world moving!

#1 - Bicycles

Bicycles have become common and popular for Canadians from coast to coast. Whether made from carbon, steel, aluminum, or titanium, the production of metal used to manufacture bikes begins in the mine.

Mined goods and petrochemicals are instrumental in creating bicycle frames, handlebars, rubber grips and plastics. In turn, these wheeled devices provide us with an eco-friendly way to get to work and the option of family leisure time on the weekends.

Meanwhile, critical metals such as nickel, tantalum, magnesium and terbium are used in cellphones and the GPS satellites that help us navigate our journeys! When on the mountain, highway, or local cul-de-sac, the quality and safety of our bikes are dependent on the natural mined resources used to build them.

We must thank Canadian miners for our new, used, or rented bicycles this summer!

#2 - Canoes

Canoeing is one of Canada's oldest modes of transportation. Made of wood, traditional birchbark canoes are used for work and play. Early settlers in Canada utilized these handmade boats to explore the country and hunt for food.

While we've upgraded to more sophisticated processes today, canoes are still used for the same reasons! Whether made from wood, petrochemicals or metals, Canadian natural resources are instrumental in producing canoes!

Let's not forget that without our car, SUV or truck, it's likely that we would not be able to transport a canoe out to a nearby lake without substantial travel times.

#3 - Motor Vehicles

One of the most prominent modes of transportation in Canada is cars! Our motor vehicles are made entirely from natural resources, from the rubber tires to the leather seats to the washing fluid.

Electric cars and hybrid models also utilize the same materials and mechanics to build, demonstrating how important our energy, forestry, and mining industries are for travel!

In many parts of Canada, getting to and from destinations A and B and C may require travelling dozens, if not hundreds of kilometres. Additionally, most Canadian metropolises have nowhere near the population density other major urban centres do in places like Asia and Europe.

Therefore, cars are an integral part of the lives of many Canadians and make daily travel convenient and time-savvy. The natural resource sectors specifically use heavy-duty trucks that operate in remote parts of the country and run on fossil fuels such as diesel.

Natural Resources in Everyday Transportation

natural resources used in ambulance transport

Check out our incomplete list of transport vehicles vital to our everyday lives, like to and from work or school. 

Ambulance School bus Public bus Train
Construction cranes Post service trucks Motorcycles Firetrucks
Skateboards & banana boards Garbage, recycling, compost trucks Cars, SUVS, trucks, EVs Tractors
Food delivery services Stroller RV's Police cars
E-scooters & bikes Ubers and taxis Handicap vans Helicopters


Each of the vehicles above is made possible thanks to natural resources.

While Canadians continue to invest in renewable energy, we must also utilize our vast petroleum reserves to continue to enjoy each of the services and goods listed above!

For example, the tires on strollers, bikes, and skateboards are derived from petrochemicals. Likewise, the life-saving contents inside an ambulance, police van or fire truck are also made from mined materials and energy products.

These transportation essentials remind us of our deep reliance on natural resources such as oil, natural gas, wood and metals, many of which Canada has in abundance!

Natural Resources in Vital Transportation

natural resources in container ship

Canadian natural resources aid in transportation in unseen ways. To combat the "out of sight, out of mind" mindset, here is a reminder of some vital transportation technologies that keep our world going!

#1 - Pipelines

Canadian pipelines are the safest mode of transportation for our oil and natural gas. The government of Canada reports that "...on average each year, 99.999 per cent of the oil transported on federally regulated pipelines moves safely.

Using pipelines to supply oil is far more economical than rail or truck, especially considering the massive volume needed to keep up with global consumption levels. Home to the world's third largest crude oil reserves, it is essential to have the safest and most reliable infrastructure to support supply and demand.

Canadian oil and gas producers' innovation, sustainability, and responsibility are why we love Canadian pipelines!

#2 - Airplanes & Ships

Ships and airplanes allow us to travel and import/export essential goods to and from our country. In 2019 alone, for example, 162,864,077 passengers were recorded as taking to the skies on a Canadian airline.

Whether it be for work or business, these transportation methods are a necessity to our modern lifestyle and the world's global system of trade.

Historically, the invention of large-scale cargo ships was ground-breaking for the world as they are one of the most cost-effective methods of transporting large quantities of goods.

Trade and transportation from overseas nations is a vital component of our society, fueled by cargo ships and airplanes!

#3 - Trains

Trains move across Canada to transport our natural resources products such as crops, with roughly 94 per cent of Canadian grain crops moving by rail each year.

As the world's population continues to grow over the next few decades, Canadian farmers have the opportunity to provide the world with more sustainably produced products. But to do so, our farmers need to get their products to market. That means on the back of trains, made with minerals and metal and powered by fossil fuels.

Other natural resource industries like the energy sector also utilize trains for exporting products. For example, on average, hundreds of thousands of barrels of Canadian crude oil are shipped via rail to buyers in the United States every day.

Trains are instrumental in creating overall wealth and prosperity for Canadians via the export/import of goods across jurisdictional boundaries.

Natural Resources Fuel Our Transportation

Canada Action banner

Canadian oil, natural gas, mining, forestry, agriculture, and renewable technology are vital to our transportation systems. We encourage you to look around on your next trip and note just how many natural resources are part of your journey!

Join us to learn more about Canada's world-class natural resource sectors on TwitterInstagram and Facebook today! Hope to see you there!