With the advent of gas-powered engines in 1892, gasoline, once considered a mere byproduct of the crude oil refining process, began its rise to become one of the most used fuels in the world. The United States uses roughly 44 percent of the world's gasoline.
In 1859, the Seneca Oil Company began refining crude oil in Pennsylvania and subsequently discarding gasoline, the lighter component produced when distilling kerosene. Gasoline became the principal product of the oil refinery industry as internal combustion engines increased in popularity.
When gasoline is burned, the hydrocarbons in the fuel are converted to carbon dioxide and water. Gasoline is harmful to the environment.
During the refining process, a barrel of oil, which contains 42 gallons, produces 19 gallons of gasoline. Depending on the manufacturing process, gasoline can have a number of different additives. It also can be dyed to aid in identification.
Gasoline is graded using an octane rating, which determines the quality of the fuel blend. The higher the octane rating, the higher the level of pressure the fuel can stand without igniting.
Gasoline is used in most internal combustion engines. The fuel is considered stable for several months but may experience chemical separation if unused for a long period of time.