A Shell gasoline station in Hiroshima, Japan

Gasoline (American English), or petrol (British English), is a transparent, petroleum-derived liquid that is used primarily as a fuel in spark-ignited internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. On average, a 42-gallon barrel of crude oil (159 L) yields about 19 US gallons (72 L) of gasoline when processed in an oil refinery, though this varies based on the crude oil source's assay.

The characteristic of a particular gasoline blend to resist igniting too early (which causes knocking and reduces efficiency in reciprocating engines) is measured by its octane rating. Gasoline is produced in several grades of octane rating. Tetraethyllead and other lead compounds are no longer used in most areas to regulate and increase octane-rating, but many other additives are put into gasoline to improve its chemical stability, control corrosiveness, provide fuel system cleaning, and determine performance characteristics under intended use. Sometimes, gasoline also contains ethanol as an alternative fuel, for economic, political or environmental reasons.[citation needed]

Gasoline used in internal combustion engines has a significant effect on the environment, both in local effects (e.g., smog) and in global effects (e.g., effect on the climate). Gasoline may also enter the environment uncombusted, as liquid and as vapors, from leakage and handling during production, transport and delivery, from storage tanks, from spills, etc. As an example of efforts to control such leakage, many (underground) storage tanks are required to have extensive measures in place to detect and prevent such leaks.[1] Gasoline contains benzene and other known carcinogens.[2][3][4]


"Gasoline" is a North America 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.[5] The words is a derivation from the word "gas" and the chemical suffixes "-ol" and "-ine" or "-ene".[6]

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.[7]

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".[7]

"Petrol" is used 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.[8] 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 trade mark "petrol",[9] but by this time the word was already in general use, possibly inspired by the French pétrole,[6] and the registration was not allowed. Carless registered a number of alternative names for the product, but "petrol" became the common term for the fuel in the British Commonwealth.[10][11]

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.[12][13] The term is used most widely in Nigeria, where the largest petroleum companies call their product "premium motor spirit".[14] 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.[15]

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 gas used as car fuel (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, Catalan benzina). Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay use the colloquial name nafta derived from that of the chemical naphtha.[16]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Petrol
አማርኛ: ቤንዚን
aragonés: Benzina
asturianu: Gasolina
azərbaycanca: Benzin
বাংলা: পেট্রল
Bân-lâm-gú: Ga-só͘-lín
беларуская: Бензін
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Бэнзін
भोजपुरी: पेट्रोल
български: Бензин
bosanski: Benzin
català: Gasolina
čeština: Benzín
dansk: Benzin
Deutsch: Motorenbenzin
eesti: Bensiin
Ελληνικά: Βενζίνη
español: Gasolina
Esperanto: Benzino
euskara: Gasolina
فارسی: بنزین
Frysk: Benzine
Gaeilge: Peitreal
Gàidhlig: Peatrail
galego: Gasolina
贛語: 汽油
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Khì-yù
한국어: 휘발유
Հայերեն: Բենզին
हिन्दी: पेट्रोल
hrvatski: Benzin
Ido: Benzino
Bahasa Indonesia: Bensin
interlingua: Gasolina
íslenska: Bensín
italiano: Benzina
עברית: בנזין
Basa Jawa: Bènsin
ქართული: ბენზინი
қазақша: Бензин
Kiswahili: Petroli
Кыргызча: Бензин
Latina: Benzinum
latviešu: Benzīns
lietuvių: Benzinas
Ligure: Gasolio
Limburgs: Benzien
magyar: Benzin
മലയാളം: പെട്രോൾ
مصرى: بنزين
Bahasa Melayu: Petrol
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဓာတ်ဆီ
Nederlands: Benzine
नेपाली: पेट्रोल
नेपाल भाषा: ग्यासोलिन
日本語: ガソリン
norsk: Bensin
norsk nynorsk: Bensin
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Benzin
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਪਟਰੋਲ
پنجابی: پٹرول
polski: Benzyna
português: Gasolina
română: Benzină
русский: Бензин
саха тыла: Бензин
संस्कृतम्: पेट्रोल्
Scots: Petrol
Seeltersk: Motooren-Benzin
sicilianu: Binzina
Simple English: Gasoline
slovenčina: Benzín
slovenščina: Bencin
српски / srpski: Motorni benzin
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Benzin
Basa Sunda: Bénsin
suomi: Bensiini
svenska: Bensin
Tagalog: Gasolina
தமிழ்: பெட்ரோல்
татарча/tatarça: Бензин
తెలుగు: పెట్రోల్
тоҷикӣ: Бензин
Türkçe: Benzin
тыва дыл: Бензин
українська: Бензин
Tiếng Việt: Xăng
Winaray: Gasolina
Wolof: Esaas
ייִדיש: בענזין
粵語: 電油
Zazaki: Benzin
中文: 汽油