Important uses of alkanes are as follows:
1. Petroleum and natural gas are largely mixtures of different alkanes. On refining, they give liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), gasoline, kerosene, diesel, furnace oil and wax which are used as fuels.
2. Some higher alkanes are used as lubricating oils and as vaseline.
3. Alkanes are used as starting materials for the preparation of many other useful organic compounds. For example, methane on chlorinate on gives chloromethane, dichloromethane, trichloromethane (chloroform) and tetrachloromethane.
4. Carbon formed during decomposition of methane is in the form of finely divided particles and is known as carbon black. Carbon black is used for making printer’s ink and paints. It is also used in rubber industry.
5. Alkanes are also used as source of hydrogen.