How Much Does a Gallon of Gasoline Weigh?

By Staff WriterLast Updated May 27, 2020 7:43:23 PM ET
126789599 C6fc0c5cb8 K
Kevin Simpson/flickr

Gasoline weighs roughly 6.073 pounds a gallon in the U.S. However, different countries use different additives in gasoline. The grade of gasoline also affects how much it weighs. Because of this, the exact weight of a gallon of gasoline can vary.

Gasoline Composition

Gasoline is made from crude oil or petroleum. One barrel of crude oil creates 19 gallons of gasoline. Once made, other substances are added to it. These include detergents to keep carbon from forming in car engines, ethanol to lower how much carbon dioxide it creates, and dyes used to make different kinds of gasoline stand out from each other. Gasoline used to be made with lead, but because it produces more pollution and poses a health risk, it was eventually removed.

The numbers on gasoline at the gas station are octane numbers. Higher performance engines run at higher RPM's and compression rates, and thus require higher octane fuel.

Gasoline Production

Gasoline varies by location and even season. Many states require gasoline to be made with additives that reduce how much carbon dioxide it creates. Some states even change their requirements partway through the year to prevent fog from forming.         

Gasoline in the United States

While much of North America uses the name gasoline, the rest of the world calls it petrol. The United States uses a lot of gasoline, especially for driving. U.S. drivers alone account for 44% of all gasoline used in the world. Most gasoline sold in the United States also comes from it. Canada and Mexico sell Americans most of the gasoline that isn’t made in the United States.

Gasoline and Carbon Dioxide

Burning gasoline releases carbon dioxide, a gas that contributes significantly to global warming. A gallon of gas without ethanol creates 19 to 20 pounds of carbon dioxide when burned. Adding biofuel can lower how much carbon dioxide a gallon of gas produces.

Cars today produce about 20% less carbon dioxide than they did 10 years ago. However, producing gasoline from oil is getting dirtier. Gasoline refined in 2014 created 30% more carbon compared to gasoline in 2005. Because gasoline makes so much of the carbon dioxide made by people, scientists warn that we need to use less of it and eventually switch to a different fuel.

Gasoline and Head Lice

Gasoline was once used as a treatment for head lice. However, it's no longer recommended because of how dangerous it is. Gasoline fumes can burst into fire from even just a lit fire or oven pilot light. This is enough to set a person’s head on fire even without a flame nearby.

Even when this doesn’t happen, gasoline irritates the scalp and can cause a burning sensation. Over-the-counter lice shampoos and other treatments should be used in place of gasoline.