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Gasoline vs. Petroleum: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 6, 2023
Gasoline is a refined petroleum derivative used as fuel in internal combustion engines. Petroleum is a natural, unrefined fossil fuel composed of hydrocarbons, used to produce various fuels and chemicals.

Key Differences

Gasoline is a specific product derived from the refining process of petroleum. Petroleum is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons extracted from the earth, used as a raw material for various products, including gasoline.
Petroleum is the unrefined, crude oil extracted from the earth, containing a mixture of various hydrocarbons and other compounds. In contrast, gasoline is a lighter, volatile liquid obtained from the distillation and processing of petroleum.
The production of gasoline involves refining and treating specific components of petroleum. Petroleum itself is a broader term encompassing crude oil in its natural state, before any processing or refining.
While gasoline is primarily used as fuel for vehicles, petroleum has a wider range of applications, including the production of diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, and various petrochemicals.
Petroleum in its raw form is not suitable for use in internal combustion engines, unlike gasoline which is specifically formulated for this purpose. Gasoline represents one of the many valuable products derived from the processing of petroleum.

Comparison Chart


Refined hydrocarbon blend specific for engines
Unrefined crude oil with various hydrocarbons


Primarily as vehicle fuel
Source for various fuels and chemicals


Light, volatile liquid
Thick, viscous liquid or semi-solid

Production Process

Obtained through refining and distillation of petroleum
Extracted from earth's crust in raw form


Fuel for internal combustion engines
Raw material for fuel, lubricants, plastics, etc

Gasoline and Petroleum Definitions


Refined petroleum product for motor vehicles.
Gasoline prices have been fluctuating a lot recently.


Unrefined oil used in energy and manufacturing sectors.
Petroleum prices greatly affect the global economy.


A liquid fuel used in cars and motorcycles.
My motorcycle performs best on premium gasoline.


Source material for gasoline and other hydrocarbons.
Petroleum is transported globally in large tankers.


A volatile fuel for internal combustion engines.
I need to fill my car with gasoline before our road trip.


Hydrocarbon-rich liquid for fuel and chemical production.
The refinery processes petroleum into several products.


A primary automotive fuel derived from oil.
The gasoline tank is nearly empty; let's stop for a refill.


Natural fossil fuel used as a raw material for fuels.
Petroleum is essential for producing various types of fuel.


Processed fossil fuel for combustion engines.
This engine is designed to run on unleaded gasoline.


Crude oil extracted from the earth's crust.
Petroleum extraction has significant environmental impacts.


A volatile mixture of flammable liquid hydrocarbons derived chiefly from crude petroleum and used principally as a fuel for internal-combustion engines.


A thick, flammable, yellow-to-black mixture of gaseous, liquid, and solid hydrocarbons that occurs naturally beneath the earth's surface, can be separated into fractions including natural gas, gasoline, naphtha, kerosene, fuel and lubricating oils, paraffin wax, and asphalt and is used as raw material for a wide variety of derivative products.


A flammable liquid consisting of a mixture of refined petroleum hydrocarbons, mainly used as a motor fuel; petrol.


A flammable liquid ranging in color from clear to very dark brown and black, consisting mainly of hydrocarbons, occurring naturally in deposits under the Earth's surface.


Rock oil, mineral oil, or natural oil, a dark brown or greenish inflammable liquid, which, at certain points, exists in the upper strata of the earth, from whence it is pumped, or forced by pressure of the gas attending it. It consists of a complex mixture of various hydrocarbons, largely of the methane series, but may vary much in appearance, composition, and properties. It is refined by distillation, and the products include kerosene, benzine, gasoline, paraffin, etc.


A dark oil consisting mainly of hydrocarbons


How is gasoline made from petroleum?

Gasoline is made by refining and distilling specific components of petroleum.

What is petroleum?

Petroleum is unrefined crude oil, a natural fossil fuel, used to produce various fuels and chemicals.

Are gasoline and petroleum the same?

No, gasoline is a refined product of petroleum, which is crude oil in its natural state.

Is gasoline only derived from petroleum?

Yes, gasoline is specifically produced from petroleum.

What is gasoline?

Gasoline is a refined petroleum product used as fuel in internal combustion engines.

Can petroleum be used directly as fuel?

No, petroleum needs to be refined into products like gasoline or diesel to be used as fuel.

How are gasoline and petroleum transported?

Petroleum is transported in tankers, while gasoline is distributed through pipelines and tanker trucks.

Is petroleum used in industries other than transportation?

Yes, petroleum is used in the production of plastics, chemicals, and other materials.

What are the primary uses of gasoline?

Gasoline is primarily used as fuel for vehicles like cars and motorcycles.

Can petroleum run out?

Yes, petroleum is a finite resource, and its reserves are depleting.

Is gasoline the only product derived from petroleum?

No, petroleum is also used to produce diesel, jet fuel, lubricants, and many petrochemicals.

Are there alternatives to gasoline and petroleum?

Yes, there are alternatives like biofuels, electric energy, and hydrogen fuel.

What is the role of petroleum in the energy sector?

Petroleum is a major source of energy, powering various sectors and industries.

How has the use of gasoline and petroleum evolved?

Their use has grown with industrialization, but there's a shift towards more sustainable energy sources.

Are there environmental concerns associated with petroleum and gasoline?

Yes, both petroleum extraction and gasoline use have significant environmental impacts.

How does the price of petroleum affect gasoline?

Gasoline prices are directly influenced by the cost and availability of petroleum.

Can gasoline be used in all types of engines?

Gasoline is suitable for most internal combustion engines but not for engines designed for other fuels.

What factors affect gasoline quality?

The refining process and added additives determine gasoline quality.

How do fluctuations in petroleum prices affect the economy?

Changes in petroleum prices can significantly impact global and national economies.

What is the difference in environmental impact between gasoline and petroleum?

Petroleum extraction impacts the environment, while gasoline usage primarily contributes to air pollution.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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