"Gasoline" is a North American word that refers to fuel for automobiles. The Oxford English Dictionary dates its first recorded use to 1863 when it was spelled "gasolene". The term "gasoline" was first used in North America in 1864.The word is a derivation from the word "gas" and the chemical suffixes "-ol" and "-ine" or "-ene".
However, the term may also have been influenced by the trademark "Cazeline" or "Gazeline". On 27 November 1862, the British publisher, coffee merchant and social campaigner John Cassell placed an advertisement in The Times of London:
The Patent Cazeline Oil, safe, economical, and brilliant … possesses all the requisites which have so long been desired as a means of powerful artificial light.
This is the earliest occurrence of the word to have been found. Cassell discovered that a shopkeeper in Dublin named Samuel Boyd was selling counterfeit cazeline and wrote to him to ask him to stop. Boyd did not reply and changed every ‘C’ into a ‘G’, thus coining the word "gazeline".
The name "petrol" is used in place of "gasoline" in most Commonwealth countries. "Petrol" was first used as the name of a refined petroleum product around 1870 by British wholesaler Carless, Capel & Leonard, who marketed it as a solvent. When the product later found a new use as a motor fuel, Frederick Simms, an associate of Gottlieb Daimler, suggested to Carless that they register the trademark "petrol", but by this time the word was already in general use, possibly inspired by the French pétrole, and the registration was not allowed. Carless registered a number of alternative names for the product, but "petrol" nonetheless became the common term for the fuel in the British Commonwealth.
British refiners originally used "motor spirit" as a generic name for the automotive fuel and "aviation spirit" for aviation gasoline. When Carless was denied a trademark on "petrol" in the 1930s, its competitors switched to the more popular name "petrol". However, "motor spirit" had already made its way into laws and regulations, so the term remains in use as a formal name for petrol. The term is used most widely in Nigeria, where the largest petroleum companies call their product "premium motor spirit". Although "petrol" has made inroads into Nigerian English, "premium motor spirit" remains the formal name that is used in scientific publications, government reports, and newspapers.
The use of the word gasoline instead of petrol outside North America can often be confusing. Shortening gasoline to gas, which happens often, causes confusion with various forms of gaseous products also used as automotive fuel (for example, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)). In many countries, gasoline has a colloquial name derived from that of the chemical benzene (e.g., German Benzin, Czech benzín, Dutch benzine, Italian benzina, Russian бензин benzin, Polish benzyna, Chilean Spanish bencina, Thai เบนซิน bensin, Greek βενζίνη venzini, Romanian benzină, Hebrew בנזין benzin, Swedish bensin, Arabic بنزين binzīn, and Catalan benzina). Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay use the colloquial name nafta derived from that of the chemical naphtha.