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Petrol vs. Gasoline: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 10, 2023
Petrol and gasoline refer to the same fuel type, with "petrol" commonly used in British English and "gasoline" in American English.

Key Differences

Petrol, a term widely recognized and utilized in the UK, Australia, and many other countries, is synonymous with gasoline, a word predominantly used in the United States and Canada.
When considering petrol, it’s important to note its wide recognition in many English-speaking and European countries as the standard term for fuel for motor vehicles, while gasoline is distinctly recognized and understood in North American contexts.
The term petrol doesn’t alter its spelling or pronunciation across various English dialects and regions, contrasting with gasoline, which sometimes sees abbreviation to "gas" particularly in colloquial American English.
Historically, petrol was derived from the term "petroleum," highlighting its origin, whereas gasoline was originally a trademarked name for a product used to treat lice, later becoming associated with fuel.
While petrol is utilized in various contexts without altering its form, gasoline might appear in numerous compound words or phrases in American English, such as "gas station" or "gas pump."

Comparison Chart

Common Usage

UK, Australia, and many countries
USA, Canada


Rarely abbreviated
Often abbreviated as "gas"


Derived from "petroleum"
Originally a trademarked name

Compound Word Usage

Less common
More common (e.g., gas station)

Associated Terminology

Petrol station, petrol pump
Gas station, gas pump

Petrol and Gasoline Definitions


Petrol is associated with greenhouse gas emissions.
Burning petrol releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.


Gasoline combustion is a significant source of pollution.
Reducing gasoline consumption can mitigate environmental impact.


Petrol is a liquid fuel used in internal combustion engines.
She filled her car with petrol before the road trip.


Gasoline is a fossil fuel derived from petroleum used to run internal combustion engines.
The price of gasoline has been fluctuating recently.


Petrol contains hydrocarbons and may include additives.
Some types of petrol contain additives to improve engine performance.


Gasoline can be found in various forms such as regular, premium, and mid-grade.
Different vehicles may require different grades of gasoline.


Petrol originates from the refinement of crude oil.
Petrol is produced through a distillation process at refineries.


Gasoline can vary in octane levels affecting engine performance.
High-octane gasoline is often recommended for performance vehicles.


Petrol is used in various vehicular engines.
The motorbike needs premium petrol for optimal performance.


Gasoline stations are widespread and provide various services.
They stopped at a gasoline station to refuel and buy snacks.


Petroleum, a fluid consisting of a mixture of refined petroleum hydrocarbons, primarily consisting of octane, commonly used as a motor fuel.




(informal) A motor vehicle powered by petrol (as opposed to diesel).




A volatile flammable mixture of hydrocarbons (hexane and heptane and octane etc.) derived from petroleum; used mainly as a fuel in internal-combustion engines


What is petrol used for?

Petrol is commonly used as a fuel for internal combustion engines in vehicles.

Is gasoline the same as petrol?

Yes, gasoline and petrol refer to the same fuel type but are used in American and British English, respectively.

Why is gasoline sometimes called "gas" even though it's a liquid?

The term "gas" is a short, colloquial abbreviation of gasoline, used commonly in the United States.

Is petrol available in different grades?

Yes, petrol is available in various grades, which are primarily differentiated by their octane ratings.

Why do petrol prices fluctuate?

Petrol prices fluctuate due to various factors, including crude oil prices, supply and demand, and geopolitical events.

Is petrol harmful to the environment?

Yes, burning petrol releases carbon dioxide, contributing to air pollution and climate change.

Are there electric alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicles?

Yes, there are various electric and hybrid vehicles available that do not rely solely on gasoline.

Is there an alternative to using gasoline for vehicles?

Yes, alternatives include electric power, hydrogen fuel cells, and alternative fuels like ethanol.

How is petrol stored safely?

Petrol should be stored in approved containers, in a well-ventilated area, away from living spaces and ignition sources.

What are the dangers associated with petrol?

Petrol is highly flammable and can be harmful or fatal if swallowed or inhaled in high concentrations.

Can you mix different octanes of petrol?

Yes, mixing different octanes of petrol is generally safe but it's best to stick to the manufacturer's recommendation.

What happens when gasoline expires?

When gasoline "expires" or ages, it can oxidize and form gums and varnishes that can foul an engine.

Is gasoline available worldwide?

Yes, gasoline is available worldwide, though availability and quality can vary by region.

Can petrol be used in jet engines?

No, petrol is not used in jet engines, which typically use a type of kerosene-based jet fuel.

Can gasoline be used in fuel oil heating systems?

No, gasoline should not be used in heating systems designed for fuel oil as it is more volatile and can be dangerous.

Can a gasoline engine run on diesel?

No, a gasoline engine cannot run on diesel and trying to do so can cause significant damage.

What additives are found in gasoline?

Gasoline may contain additives for improving combustion, cleaning, and stabilizing the fuel during storage.

Can I use premium petrol in any car?

While you can use premium petrol in any car, it’s best to follow the fuel grade recommended in the vehicle's manual.

How is gasoline transported?

Gasoline is typically transported via pipelines, trucks, or ships, depending on the region and infrastructure.

How is petrol made?

Petrol is made by distilling crude oil, and it may then be blended with other substances to create various grades.
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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