The feedstock for ethanoic acid has changed
several times over the past 100 years. It was originally made
by air oxidation of ethanol produced by fermentation of biomass.
By the 1950s, direct oxidation of butane or naphtha, derived from
crude oil, became more economic.
This gave way largely to production from a cheaper feedstock,
methanol and carbon monoxide from the 1970s onwards. Methanol
is manufactured from synthesis gas (a mixture of carbon monoxide,
carbon dioxide and hydrogen), which itself is produced primarily
from natural gas and oil.