What’s impossible without petroleum?

What’s impossible without petroleum?

This seems like the right place to ask. I'm writing a speculative fiction novel and one of the notable features of the planet this is set on is that it has no notable oil reserves and the little coal reserves it had have been depleted.

Assuming no other sources of petroleum, and an industrial base centered around the latter half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, what products are flat out impossible to make without petroleum? What's much harder to make, such that it might not be invented without fossil fuels? Power production isn't an issue, I have fictional explanations for that, so I'm more interested in what will be available industrially.

I've asked in /r/worldbuilding without getting any good answers, so I was hoping some of you guys might have helpful info?

Submitted May 06, 2017 at 10:55PM by stealthmissionary
via reddit http://ift.tt/2qcsTPg


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