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.
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
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.[citation
Gasoline contains benzene and other known
1.1 Etymology and terminology
4 Energy content
6 Chemical analysis and production
7.1 Antiknock additives
184.108.40.206 Lead replacement petrol
Fuel stabilizers (antioxidants and metal deactivators)
7.4.1 European Union
7.4.4 United States
8.1 Environmental considerations
8.3 Inhalation for intoxication
9 Use and pricing
9.2 United States
10 CO2 production
11 Comparison with other fuels
12 See also
14 External links
The first automotive combustion engines, so-called Otto engines, were
developed in the last quarter of the 19th century in Germany. The fuel
was a relatively volatile hydrocarbon obtained from coal gas. With a
boiling point near 85 °C (octanes boil about 40 °C
higher), it was well suited for early carburetors (evaporators). The
development of a "spray nozzle" carburetor enabled the use of less
volatile fuels. Further improvements in engine efficiency were
attempted at higher compression ratios, but early attempts were
blocked by knocking (premature explosion of fuel). In the 1920s,
antiknock compounds were introduced by
Thomas Midgley Jr.
Thomas Midgley Jr. and Boyd,
specifically tetraethyllead (TEL). This innovation started a cycle of
improvements in fuel efficiency that coincided with the large-scale
development of oil refining to provide more products in the boiling
range of gasoline. In the 1950s oil refineries started to focus on
high octane fuels, and then detergents were added to gasoline to clean
the jets in carburetors. The 1970s witnessed greater attention to the
environmental consequences of burning gasoline. These considerations
led to the phasing out of TEL and its replacement by other antiknock
compounds. Subsequently, low-sulfur gasoline was introduced, in part
to preserve the catalysts in modern exhaust systems.
Etymology and terminology
"Gasoline" is the term that is used in North America to refer to the
most popular automobile fuel. The
Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary dates the
first use to 1863, when it was spelled "gasolene", and gives 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, publisher, coffee
merchant, and social campaigner
John Cassell placed an advertisement
in The Times:
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".
"Petrol" is the preferred term 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 trade mark "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" became the common term for the fuel in the
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 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, Swedish bensin, Arabic بنزين binzīn, Catalan benzina).
Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay use the colloquial name nafta derived
from that of the chemical naphtha.
Spark ignition engines are designed to burn gasoline in a controlled
process called deflagration. However, the unburned mixture may
autoignite by detonating from pressure and heat alone, rather than
ignite from the spark plug at exactly the right time. This causes a
rapid pressure rise which can damage the engine. This is often
referred to as engine knocking or end-gas knock. Knocking can be
reduced by increasing the gasoline's resistance to autoignition, which
is expressed by its octane rating.
Octane rating is measured relative to a mixture of
2,2,4-trimethylpentane (an isomer of octane) and n-heptane. There are
different conventions for expressing octane ratings, so the same
physical fuel may have several different octane ratings based on the
measure used. One of the best known is the research octane number
The octane rating of typical commercially available gasoline varies by
country. In Finland, Sweden, and Norway, 95 RON is the standard for
regular unleaded gasoline and 98 RON is also available as a more
expensive option. In the UK, ordinary regular unleaded gasoline is 95
RON (commonly available), premium unleaded gasoline is always 97 RON,
and super unleaded is usually 97–98 RON. However,
both Shell and BP produce fuel at 102 RON for cars with
high-performance engines and in 2006 the supermarket chain
to sell super unleaded gasoline rated at 99 RON. In the US, octane
ratings in unleaded fuels can vary between 85 and 87 AKI (91–92
RON) for regular, through 89–90 AKI (94–95 RON) for mid-grade
(equivalent to European regular), up to 90–94 AKI (95–99 RON) for
premium (European premium).
South Africa's largest city, Johannesburg, is located on the Highveld
at 1,753 metres (5,751 ft) above sea level. So the South African
AA recommends 95 octane gasoline (petrol) at low altitude and 93
octane for use in
Johannesburg because "The higher the altitude the
lower the air pressure, and the lower the need for a high octane fuel
as there is no real performance gain".
The octane rating became important as the military sought higher
output for aircraft engines in the late 1930s and the 1940s. A higher
octane rating allows a higher compression ratio or supercharger boost,
and thus higher temperatures and pressures, which translate to higher
power output. Some scientists even predicted that a nation with a good
supply of high octane gasoline would have the advantage in air power.
In 1943, the
Rolls-Royce Merlin aero engine produced 1,320 horsepower
(984 kW) using 100 RON fuel from a modest 27 liter displacement.
By the time of
Operation Overlord during
World War II
World War II both the RAF and
USAAF were conducting some operations in Europe using 150 RON fuel
(100/150 avgas), obtained by adding 2.5% aniline to 100 octane
avgas. By this time the
Rolls-Royce Merlin 66 was developing
2,000 hp using this fuel.
Quality gasoline should be stable for six months if stored properly
but gasoline will break down slowly over time due to the separation of
Gasoline stored for a year will most likely be able to
be burned in an internal combustion engine without too much trouble
but the effects of long term storage will become more noticeable with
each passing month until a time comes when the gasoline should be
diluted with ever-increasing amounts of freshly made fuel so that the
older gasoline may be used up. If left undiluted, improper operation
will occur and this may include engine damage from misfiring and/or
the lack of proper action of the fuel within a fuel injection system
and from an onboard computer attempting to compensate (if applicable
to the vehicle). Storage should be in an airtight container (to
prevent oxidation or water vapors mixing in with the gas) that can
withstand the vapor pressure of the gasoline without venting (to
prevent the loss of the more volatile fractions) at a stable cool
temperature (to reduce the excess pressure from liquid expansion, and
to reduce the rate of any decomposition reactions). When gasoline is
not stored correctly, gums and solids may be created, which can
corrode system components and accumulate on wetted surfaces, resulting
in a condition called “stale fuel”.
Gasoline containing ethanol is
especially subject to absorbing atmospheric moisture, then forming
gums, solids, or two phases (a hydrocarbon phase floating on top of a
The presence of these degradation products in the fuel tank, fuel
lines plus a carburetor or fuel injection components makes it harder
to start the engine or causes reduced engine performance. On
resumption of regular engine use, the buildup may or may not be
eventually cleaned out by the flow of fresh gasoline. The addition of
a fuel stabilizer to gasoline can extend the life of fuel that is not
or cannot be stored properly though removal of all fuel from a fuel
system is the only real solution to the problem of long term storage
of an engine or a machine or vehicle. Some typical fuel stabilizers
are proprietary mixtures containing mineral spirits, isopropyl
alcohol, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, or other additives.
is commonly used for small engines, such as lawnmower and tractor
engines, especially when their use is seasonal (low to no use for one
or more seasons of the year). Users have been advised to keep gasoline
containers more than half full and properly capped to reduce air
exposure, to avoid storage at high temperatures, to run an engine for
ten minutes to circulate the stabilizer through all components prior
to storage, and to run the engine at intervals to purge stale fuel
from the carburetor.
Gasoline stability requirements are set in standard ASTM D4814. The
standard describes the various characteristics and requirements of
automotive fuels for use over a wide range of operating conditions in
ground vehicles equipped with spark-ignition engines.
A gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine obtains energy from
combustion of gasoline's various hydrocarbons with oxygen from the
ambient air, yielding carbon dioxide and water exhaust. The combustion
of octane, a representative species, performs the chemical reaction:
displaystyle ce 2 C8H18 + 25 O2 -> 16 CO2 + 18 H2O
Gasoline contains about 46.7 MJ/kg (127 MJ/US gal, 35.3 kWh/US gal,
13.0 kWh/kg, 120,405 BTU/US gal), quoting the lower heating value.
Gasoline blends differ, and therefore actual energy content varies
according to the season and producer by up to 1.75% more or less than
the average. On average, about 74 L of gasoline (19.5 US gal, 16.3
imp gal) are available from a barrel of crude oil (about 46% by
volume), varying due to quality of crude and grade of gasoline. The
remainder are products ranging from tar to naphtha.
A high-octane-rated fuel, such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) has an
overall lower power output at the typical 10:1 compression ratio of an
engine design optimized for gasoline fuel. An engine tuned for LPG
fuel via higher compression ratios (typically 12:1) improves the power
output. This is because higher-octane fuels allow for a higher
compression ratio without knocking, resulting in a higher cylinder
temperature, which improves efficiency. Also, increased mechanical
efficiency is created by a higher compression ratio through the
concomitant higher expansion ratio on the power stroke, which is by
far the greater effect. The higher expansion ratio extracts more work
from the high-pressure gas created by the combustion process. An
Atkinson cycle engine uses the timing of the valve events to produce
the benefits of a high expansion ratio without the disadvantages,
chiefly detonation, of a high compression ratio. A high expansion
ratio is also one of the two key reasons for the efficiency of diesel
engines, along with the elimination of pumping losses due to
throttling of the intake air flow.
The lower energy content of LPG by liquid volume in comparison to
gasoline is due mainly to its lower density. This lower density is a
property of the lower molecular weight of propane (LPG's chief
component) compared to gasoline's blend of various hydrocarbon
compounds with heavier molecular weights than propane. Conversely, LPG
energy content by weight is higher than gasoline due to a higher
hydrogen to carbon ratio.
Molecular weights of the representative octane combustion are C8H18
114, O2 32, CO2 44, H2O 18; therefore 1 kg of fuel reacts with
3.51 kg of oxygen to produce 3.09 kg of carbon dioxide and
1.42 kg of water.
The density of gasoline ranges from 0.71–0.77 kg/L (719.7
kg/m3 ; 0.026 lb/in3; 6.073 lb/US gal; 7.29 lb/imp
gal), higher densities having a greater volume of aromatics. Since
gasoline floats on water, water cannot generally be used to extinguish
a gasoline fire unless used in a fine mist. Finished marketable
gasoline is traded with a standard reference of 0.755 kg/L, and
its price is escalated/de-escalated according to its actual density.
Chemical analysis and production
Some of the main components of gasoline: isooctane, butane,
3-ethyltoluene, and the octane enhancer MTBE.
A pumpjack in the United States
An oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico
Gasoline is produced in oil refineries. Roughly 19 US gallons (72 L)
of gasoline is derived from a 42-gallon (159 L) barrel of crude
oil. Material separated from crude oil via distillation, called
virgin or straight-run gasoline, does not meet specifications for
modern engines (particularly the octane rating, see below), but can be
pooled to the gasoline blend.
The bulk of a typical gasoline consists of hydrocarbons with between 4
and 12 carbon atoms per molecule (commonly referred to as C4-C12).
It is a mixture of paraffins (alkanes), cycloalkanes (naphthenes), and
olefins (alkenes), where the usage of the terms paraffin and olefin is
particular to the oil industry. The actual ratio depends on:
the oil refinery that makes the gasoline, as not all refineries have
the same set of processing units;
the crude oil feed used by the refinery;
the grade of gasoline, in particular, the octane rating.
The various refinery streams blended to make gasoline have different
characteristics. Some important streams are:
straight-run gasoline, commonly referred to as naphtha, is distilled
directly from crude oil. Once the leading source of fuel, its low
octane rating required lead additives. It is low in aromatics
(depending on the grade of crude oil), containing some cycloalkanes
(naphthenes) and no olefins (alkenes). Between 0 and 20% of this
stream is pooled into the finished gasoline, because the supply of
this fraction is insufficient[clarification needed] and its RON is too
low. The chemical properties (namely octane and RVP)
of the straight-run gasoline can be improved through reforming and
isomerisation. However, before feeding those units, the naphtha needs
to be split in light and heavy naphtha. Straight-run gasoline can be
also used as a feedstock into steam-crackers to produce olefins.
reformate, produced in a catalytic reformer has a high octane rating
with high aromatic content, and relatively low olefins (alkenes). Most
of the benzene, toluene, and xylene (the so-called BTX) are more
valuable as chemical feedstocks and are thus removed to some extent.
catalytic cracked gasoline or catalytic cracked naphtha, produced from
a catalytic cracker, with a moderate octane rating, high olefins
(alkene) content, and moderate aromatics level.
hydrocrackate (heavy, mid, and light) produced from a hydrocracker,
with medium to low octane rating and moderate aromatic levels.
alkylate is produced in an alkylation unit, using as feedstocks
isobutane and alkenes. Alkylate contains no aromatics and alkenes and
has high MON.
isomerate is obtained by isomerizing low octane straight run gasoline
to iso-paraffins (non-chain alkanes, like isooctane). Isomerate has
medium RON and MON, but nil aromatics and olefins.
butane is usually blended in the gasoline pool, although the quantity
of this stream is limited by the RVP specification.
The terms above are the jargon used in the oil industry and
Currently, many countries set limits on gasoline aromatics in general,
benzene in particular, and olefin (alkene) content. Such regulations
led to increasing preference for high octane pure paraffin (alkane)
components, such as alkylate, and is forcing refineries to add
processing units to reduce benzene content. In the EU the benzene
limit is set at 1% volume for all grade of automotive gasoline.
Gasoline can also contain other organic compounds, such as organic
ethers (deliberately added), plus small levels of contaminants, in
particular organosulfur compounds, but these are usually removed at
See also: List of gasoline additives
A plastic container for storing gasoline used in Germany
Almost all countries in the world have phased out automotive leaded
fuel. In 2011 six countries were still using leaded gasoline:
Afghanistan, Myanmar, North Korea, Algeria,
Iraq and Yemen. It was
expected that by the end of 2013 those countries would ban leaded
gasoline, but it has not occurred.
Algeria will replace leaded
with unleaded automotive fuel only in 2015.[clarification needed]
Different additives have replaced the lead compounds. The most popular
additives include aromatic hydrocarbons, ethers and alcohol (usually
ethanol or methanol). For technical reasons the use of leaded
additives is still permitted worldwide for the formulation of some
grades of aviation gasoline such as 100LL, because the required octane
rating would be technically infeasible to reach without the use of
A gas can
Main article: Tetraethyllead
Gasoline, when used in high-compression internal combustion engines,
tends to autoignite (detonate) causing damaging "engine knocking"
(also called "pinging" or "pinking"). To address this problem,
tetraethyllead (TEL) was widely adopted as an additive for gasoline in
the 1920s. With the discovery of the extent of environmental and
health damage caused by the lead, however, and the incompatibility of
lead with catalytic converters, leaded gasoline was phased out in the
USA beginning in 1973. By 1995, leaded fuel accounted for only 0.6% of
total gasoline sales and under 2000 short tons (1814 t) of lead per
year in the USA. From 1 January 1996, the U.S. Clean Air Act banned
the sale of leaded fuel for use in on-road vehicles in the USA. The
use of TEL also necessitated other additives, such as dibromoethane.
First European countries started replacing lead by the end of the
1980s and by the end of the 1990s leaded gasoline was banned within
the entire European Union. Reduction in the average blood lead level
is believed to have been a major cause for falling violent crime rates
in the United States and South Africa. A statistically
significant correlation has been found between the usage rate of
leaded gasoline and violent crime: taking into account a 22-year time
lag, the violent crime curve virtually tracks the lead exposure
Lead replacement petrol
Lead replacement petrol (LRP) was developed for vehicles designed to
run on leaded fuel and incompatible with unleaded. Rather than
tetraethyl lead it contains other metals such as potassium compounds
or methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT); these are
purported to buffer soft exhaust valves and seats so that they do not
suffer recession due to the use of unleaded fuel.
LRP was marketed during and after the phaseout of leaded motor fuels
in the United Kingdom, Australia,
South Africa and some other
countries.[vague] Consumer confusion led to widespread mistaken
preference for LRP rather than unleaded, and LRP was phased out 8
to 10 years after the introduction of unleaded.
Leaded petrol was withdrawn from sale in Britain after 31 December
1999, seven years after EEC regulations signalled the end of
production for cars using leaded petrol in member states. At this
stage, a large percentage of cars from the 1980s and early 1990s which
ran on leaded petrol were still in use, along with cars which could
run on unleaded fuel. However, the declining number of such cars on
British roads saw many petrol stations withdrawing LRP from sale by
Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl
Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT) is used in Canada
Australia to boost octane. It also helps old cars designed
for leaded fuel run on unleaded fuel without need for additives to
prevent valve problems. Its use in the US has been
restricted by regulations. Its use in the EU is restricted by
Article 8a of the
Fuel Quality Directive following its testing
under the Protocol for the evaluation of effects of metallic
fuel-additives on the emissions performance of vehicles.
Fuel stabilizers (antioxidants and metal deactivators)
Substituted phenols and derivatives of phenylenediamine are common
antioxidants used to inhibit gum formation in gasoline (gasoline).
Gummy, sticky resin deposits result from oxidative degradation of
gasoline upon long term storage. These harmful deposits arise from the
oxidation of alkenes and other minor components in gasoline (see
drying oils). Improvements in refinery techniques have generally
reduced the susceptibility of gasolines to these problems. Previously,
catalytically or thermally cracked gasolines are most susceptible to
oxidation. The formation of these gums is accelerated by copper salts,
which can be neutralized by additives called metal deactivators.
This degradation can be prevented through the addition of 5–100 ppm
of antioxidants, such as phenylenediamines and other amines.
Hydrocarbons with a bromine number of 10 or above can be protected
with the combination of unhindered or partially hindered phenols and
oil-soluble strong amine bases, such as hindered phenols. "Stale"
gasoline can be detected by a colorimetric enzymatic test for organic
peroxides produced by oxidation of the gasoline.
Gasolines are also treated with metal deactivators, which are
compounds that sequester (deactivate) metal salts that otherwise
accelerate the formation of gummy residues. The metal impurities might
arise from the engine itself or as contaminants in the fuel.
Gasoline, as delivered at the pump, also contains additives to reduce
internal engine carbon buildups, improve combustion, and to allow
easier starting in cold climates. High levels of detergent can be
found in Top Tier Detergent Gasolines. The specification for Top Tier
Detergent gasolines was developed by four automakers: GM, Honda,
Toyota and BMW. According to the bulletin, the minimal EPA requirement
is not sufficient to keep engines clean. Typical detergents
include alkylamines and alkyl phosphates at the level of 50–100
Ethanol fuel and Common ethanol fuel mixtures
In the EU, 5% ethanol can be added within the common gasoline spec (EN
228). Discussions are ongoing to allow 10% blending of ethanol
(available in Finnish, French and German gas stations). In Finland
most gasoline stations sell 95E10, which is 10% of ethanol; and 98E5,
which is 5% ethanol. Most gasoline sold in
Sweden has 5–15% ethanol
In Brazil, the Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and
Biofuels (ANP) requires gasoline for automobile use to have 27.5% of
ethanol added to its composition. Pure hydrated ethanol is also
available as a fuel.
Legislation requires retailers to label fuels containing ethanol on
the dispenser, and limits ethanol use to 10% of gasoline in Australia.
Such gasoline is commonly called E10 by major brands, and it is
cheaper than regular unleaded gasoline.
The federal Renewable
Fuel Standard (RFS) effectively requires
refiners and blenders to blend renewable biofuels (mostly ethanol)
with gasoline, sufficient to meet a growing annual target of total
gallons blended. Although the mandate does not require a specific
percentage of ethanol, annual increases in the target combined with
declining gasoline consumption has caused the typical ethanol content
in gasoline to approach 10%. Most fuel pumps display a sticker that
states that the fuel may contain up to 10% ethanol, an intentional
disparity that reflects the varying actual percentage. Until late
2010, fuels retailers were only authorized to sell fuel containing up
to 10 percent ethanol (E10), and most vehicle warranties (except for
flexible fuel vehicles) authorize fuels that contain no more than 10
percent ethanol. In parts of the United States,
ethanol is sometimes added to gasoline without an indication that it
is a component.
Government of India
Government of India in October 2007 decided to make 5% ethanol
blending (with petrol) mandatory. Currently, 10%
product (E10) is being sold in various parts of the country.
Ethanol has been found in at least one study to damage catalytic
In Australia, the lowest grade of gasoline (RON 91) is dyed a light
shade of red/orange and the medium grade (RON 95) is dyed yellow.
In the United States, aviation gasoline (avgas) is dyed to identify
its octane rating and to distinguish it from kerosene-based jet fuel,
which is clear.
In Canada the gasoline for marine and farm use is dyed red and is not
subject to sales tax. 
Oxygenate blending adds oxygen-bearing compounds such as MTBE, ETBE,
ethanol, and biobutanol. The presence of these oxygenates reduces the
amount of carbon monoxide and unburned fuel in the exhaust gas. In
many areas throughout the US, oxygenate blending is mandated by EPA
regulations to reduce smog and other airborne pollutants. For example,
in Southern California, fuel must contain 2% oxygen by weight,
resulting in a mixture of 5.6% ethanol in gasoline. The resulting fuel
is often known as reformulated gasoline (RFG) or oxygenated gasoline,
or in the case of California, California reformulated gasoline. The
federal requirement that RFG contain oxygen was dropped on 6 May 2006
because the industry had developed VOC-controlled RFG that did not
need additional oxygen.
MTBE was phased out in the US due to ground water contamination and
the resulting regulations and lawsuits.
Ethanol and, to a lesser
extent, the ethanol-derived
ETBE are common replacements. A common
ethanol-gasoline mix of 10% ethanol mixed with gasoline is called
gasohol or E10, and an ethanol-gasoline mix of 85% ethanol mixed with
gasoline is called E85. The most extensive use of ethanol takes place
in Brazil, where the ethanol is derived from sugarcane. In 2004, over
3.4 billion US gallons (2.8 billion imp gal/13 million m³)
of ethanol was produced in the
United States for fuel use, mostly from
E85 is slowly becoming available in much of the United
States, though many of the relatively few stations vending
E85 are not
open to the general public.
The use of bioethanol, either directly or indirectly by conversion of
such ethanol to bio-ETBE, is encouraged by the European Union
Directive on the Promotion of the use of biofuels and other renewable
fuels for transport. Since producing bioethanol from fermented sugars
and starches involves distillation, though, ordinary people in much of
Europe cannot legally ferment and distill their own bioethanol at
present (unlike in the US, where getting a
BATF distillation permit
has been easy since the 1973 oil crisis).
HAZMAT class 3 gasoline
Combustion of 1
U.S. gallon (3.8 L) of gasoline produces 8.74
kilograms (19.3 lb) of carbon dioxide (2.3 kg/l), a
The main concern with gasoline on the environment, aside from the
complications of its extraction and refining, is the potential effect
on the climate through the production of carbon dioxide. Unburnt
gasoline and evaporation from the tank, when in the atmosphere, reacts
in sunlight to produce photochemical smog.
Vapor pressure initially
rises with some addition of ethanol to gasoline, but the increase is
greatest at 10% by volume. At higher concentrations
of ethanol above 10%, the vapor pressure of the blend starts to
decrease. At a 10% ethanol by volume, the rise in vapor pressure may
potentially increase the problem of photochemical smog. This rise in
vapor pressure could be mitigated by increasing or decreasing the
percentage of ethanol in the gasoline mixture.
The chief risks of such leaks come not from vehicles, but from
gasoline delivery truck accidents and leaks from storage tanks.
Because of this risk, most (underground) storage tanks now have
extensive measures in place to detect and prevent any such leaks, such
as monitoring systems (Veeder-Root, Franklin Fueling).
Production of gasoline consumes 0.63 gallon of water per mile
The safety data sheet for unleaded gasoline shows at least 15
hazardous chemicals occurring in various amounts, including benzene
(up to 5% by volume), toluene (up to 35% by volume), naphthalene (up
to 1% by volume), trimethylbenzene (up to 7% by volume), methyl
tert-butyl ether (MTBE) (up to 18% by volume, in some states) and
about ten others. Hydrocarbons in gasoline generally exhibit low
acute toxicities, with
LD50 of 700–2700 mg/kg for simple
Benzene and many antiknocking additives are
People can be exposed to gasoline in the workplace by swallowing it,
breathing in vapors, skin contact, and eye contact. The National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has designated
gasoline as a carcinogen.
Inhalation for intoxication
Inhaled (huffed) gasoline vapor is a common intoxicant. Users
concentrate and inhale gasoline vapour in a manner not intended by the
manufacturer to produce euphoria and intoxication.
has become epidemic in some poorer communities and indigenous groups
in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and some Pacific Islands. The
practice is thought to cause severe organ damage, including mental
In Canada, Native children in the isolated Northern Labrador community
of Davis Inlet were the focus of national concern in 1993, when many
were found to be sniffing gasoline. The Canadian and provincial
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador governments intervened on a number of
occasions, sending many children away for treatment. Despite being
moved to the new community of Natuashish in 2002, serious inhalant
abuse problems have continued. Similar problems were reported in
Sheshatshiu in 2000 and also in Pikangikum First Nation. In 2012,
the issue once again made the news media in Canada.
See also: Indigenous Australian § Substance abuse
Australia has long faced a petrol (gasoline) sniffing problem in
isolated and impoverished aboriginal communities. Although some
sources argue that sniffing was introduced by
United States servicemen
stationed in the nation's
Top End during World War II or through
experimentation by 1940s-era
Cobourg Peninsula sawmill workers,
other sources claim that inhalant abuse (such as glue inhalation)
Australia in the late 1960s. Chronic,
heavy petrol sniffing appears to occur among remote, impoverished
indigenous communities, where the ready accessibility of petrol has
helped to make it a common substance for abuse.
In Australia, petrol sniffing now occurs widely throughout remote
Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, Western Australia,
northern parts of South
Australia and Queensland. The number of people
sniffing petrol goes up and down over time as young people experiment
or sniff occasionally. "Boss", or chronic, sniffers may move in and
out of communities; they are often responsible for encouraging young
people to take it up. In 2005, the Government of
Australia and BP
Australia began the usage of opal fuel in remote areas prone to petrol
sniffing. Opal is a non-sniffable fuel (which is much less likely
to cause a high) and has made a difference in some indigenous
Uncontrolled burning of gasoline produces large quantities of soot and
Like other hydrocarbons, gasoline burns in a limited range of its
vapor phase and, coupled with its volatility, this makes leaks highly
dangerous when sources of ignition are present.
Gasoline has a lower
explosive limit of 1.4% by volume and an upper explosive limit of
7.6%. If the concentration is below 1.4%, the air-gasoline mixture is
too lean and does not ignite. If the concentration is above 7.6%, the
mixture is too rich and also does not ignite. However, gasoline vapor
rapidly mixes and spreads with air, making unconstrained gasoline
Use and pricing
Gasoline and diesel usage and pricing
Gasoline and diesel usage and pricing and Peak oil
United States accounts for about 44% of the world’s gasoline
consumption. In 2003, the
United States consumed 476 gigaliters
(126 billion U.S. gallons; 105 billion imperial
gallons), which equates to 1.3 gigaliters (340 million U.S.
gallons; 290 million imperial gallons) of gasoline each day. The
United States used about 510 gigaliters (130 billion U.S.
gallons; 110 billion imperial gallons) of gasoline in 2006, of
which 5.6% was mid-grade and 9.5% was premium grade.
Unlike the US, countries in Europe impose taxes on fuels such as
gasoline. The price of gasoline in Europe is typically higher than
that in the US.
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (April 2016)
From 1998 to 2004, the price of gasoline fluctuated between US$1 and
US$2 per U.S. gallon. After 2004, the price increased until the
average gas price reached a high of $4.11 per
U.S. gallon in mid-2008,
but receded to approximately $2.60 per
U.S. gallon by September
2009. More recently, the U.S. experienced an upswing in gasoline
prices through 2011, and by 1 March 2012, the national average was
$3.74 per gallon.
In the United States, most consumer goods bear pre-tax prices, but
gasoline prices are posted with taxes included. Taxes are added by
federal, state, and local governments. As of 2009, the federal tax is
18.4¢ per gallon for gasoline and 24.4¢ per gallon for diesel
(excluding red diesel). Among states, the highest gasoline tax
rates, including the federal taxes as of 2005, are New York
(62.9¢/gal), Hawaii (60.1¢/gal), and California (60¢/gal).
About 9% of all gasoline sold in the US in May 2009 was premium grade,
according to the Energy Information Administration. Consumer Reports
magazine says, "If [your owner’s manual] says to use regular fuel,
do so—there's no advantage to a higher grade." The Associated
Press said premium gas—which is a higher octane and costs more per
gallon than regular unleaded—should be used only if the manufacturer
says it is "required". Cars with turbocharged engines and high
compression ratios often specify premium gas because higher octane
fuels reduce the incidence of "knock", or fuel pre-detonation. The
price of gas varies during the summer and winter months.
About 19.64 pounds (8.91 kg) of carbon dioxide (CO2) are produced
from burning a (US) gallon (3.78l) of gasoline that does not contain
ethanol (2.36 kg/l). About 22.38 pounds (10.15 kg) of CO2
are produced from burning a (US) gallon (3.78l) of diesel fuel
The US EIA estimates that U.S. motor gasoline and diesel (distillate)
fuel consumption for transportation in 2015 resulted in the emission
of about 1,105 million metric tons of CO2 and 440 million metric tons
of CO2, respectively, for a total of 1,545 million metric tons of
CO2. This total was equivalent to 83% of total U.S. transportation
sector CO2 emissions and equivalent to 29% of total U.S.
energy-related CO2 emissions in 2015.
Most of the retail gasoline now sold in the
United States contains
about 10% fuel ethanol (or E10) by volume. Burning a gallon of E10
produces about 17.68 pounds of CO2 that is emitted from the fossil
fuel content. If the CO2 emissions from ethanol combustion are
considered, then about 18.95 pounds of CO2 are produced when a gallon
of E10 is combusted. About 12.73 pounds of CO2 are produced when a
gallon of pure ethanol is combusted.
Biodiesel fuel is sold with various amounts of biodiesel content. B20
is a commonly sold biodiesel fuel. B20 contains 20% biodiesel and 80%
petroleum diesel fuel. Burning a gallon of B20 results in the emission
of about 17.90 pounds of CO2 that is emitted from the fossil fuel
content. If the emissions from burning the biodiesel in B20 are
included, then about 22.06 pounds of CO2 are produced. About 20.77
pounds of CO2 are produced from burning a gallon of B100 (100%
Comparison with other fuels
See also: Energy content of biofuel
Volumetric and mass energy density of some fuels compared with
gasoline (in the rows with gross and net, they are from):
Fuel type[clarification needed]
Net BTU/gal (U.S.)
Autogas (LPG) (Consisting mostly of C3 and C4 hydrocarbons)
Avgas (high octane gasoline)
Jet fuel (kerosene based)
Jet fuel (naphtha)
Liquefied natural gas
Liquefied petroleum gas
10.1 (at 20 kelvin)
Diesel fuel is not used in a gasoline engine, so its low octane
rating is not an issue; the relevant metric for diesel engines is the
Butanol fuel – replacement fuel for use in unmodified gasoline
Fuel saving device
Gasoline and diesel usage and pricing
Gasoline gallon equivalent
Internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine (ICE)
List of automotive fuel brands
List of gasoline additives
Natural-gas condensate#Drip gas
World oil market chronology from 2003
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Gasoline and Diesel
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Durability of various plastics: Alcohols vs. Gasoline
Dismissal of the Claims of a Biological Connection for Natural
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lower heating value data, actual energy content is higher see higher
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gasoline.
Look up gasoline in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
CNN/Money: Global gas prices
EEP: European gas prices
Transportation Energy Data Book
Energy Supply Logistics Searchable Directory of US Terminals
High octane fuel, leaded and LRP gasoline—article from robotpig.net
CDC – NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards
Gasoline Trail Handy Jam Organization, 1935 (Cartoon)
Lead Replacement Petrol
Compressed natural gas
Racing fuel (Tetraethyllead)
Methyl tert-butyl ether
Automatic transmission fluid
Windshield washer fluid
Pay at the pump