Gasoline

Information On Gasoline

Gasoline, also known as gas, petrol, or petrogasoline, is a colorless, light brown, or pink liquid petroleum derivative made up of about 150 chemicals. Its main constituents are aliphatic hydrocarbons with added iso-octane, toluene, or benzene to increase octane ratings.

Except for Canada and the United States, gasoline is known world wide as petrol. In North America, it is commonly shortened from gasoline to gas, although it is not a gaseous fuel like petroleum gas.

Gasoline EPA Requirements

All manufacturers or importers of gasoline, diesel fuel, or fuel additives must meet certain EPA requirements before they are introduced into United States commerce.

  • Manufacturers and importers must register their products with the EPA
  • Testing may be required for heath concerns
  • Gasoline must contain a certified detergent for emission reduction

History Of Gasoline

Today gas is the most profitable petroleum distillate produced, with refineries set up to produce the maximum amount of gasoline possible while refining. There was a time, however, when gasoline was considered next to useless.

Gasoline was a by product of diesel and was actually considered to be either a waste product or only marginally profitable. At one time its main use was as a lice treatment and grease remover. It wasn’t until a massive amount of “waste” gas that had been dumped into a river was accidentally ignited that the industry saw a potential for its use.

Chemical Makeup Of Gasoline

While gasoline may have added ethanol, methyl tert-butyl ether or other agents to increase octane ratings or reduce emissions, its main components are hydrocarbons.

Common Hydrocarbons:

  • Naphthenes
  • Olefins
  • Aromatics
  • N-paraffins

 

Virgin, or straight-run gas cannot be used in modern engines. Additives are used to increase octane rating, reduce knock, and improve performance and are added in different quantities to achieve different results.

 

Most Common Gasoline Additives

  • 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 Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) – Up to 18% by volume.

 

Gasoline Exposure and Health

Gas is a highly toxic substance that can be absorbed through the skin, the lungs, and by ingesting tainted water. It can cause health problems in varying degrees depending upon the concentration and duration of exposure.

Effects of Exposure To Gasoline:

  • Inhalation – Vapors can be breathed in while filling gas tanks.
  • Ingestion – Ingesting contaminated drinking water or foods cooked with the water.
  • Absorption – Some compounds in gasoline can be absorbed through the skin.

 

Short Term Health Effects Of Gasoline

  • Nose and/or lung irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Inhalation of highly concentrated gas fumes can kill

Long Term Health Effects Of Gasoline

  • Damage to the lungs and nervous systems
  • Increased risk of some cancers, especially Leukemia

Storage

Gasoline is a highly toxic substance that can contaminate water, land, and cause serious health problems.  Great care must be taken when storing and dispensing it. Above ground storage tanks are an excellent option for storing gas. They are easy to maintain, cost effective, and offer easy access for inspections and repairs.

Storage Tips

  • Always store gas in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and excessive heat.
  • For maximum safety, ASTs should be double wall Fireguard or Fireshield.
  • Check tanks frequently for damage or leakages and repair immediately
  • Regularly check for moisture and remove it as soon as possible.
  • Leave 5% head space in tanks for expansion.

Dispensing

Gasoline is both toxic and highly flammable, therefore caution should be used when dispensing. Here are some safety tips to follow that can help reduce or eliminate spills and other dangerous situations.

Dispensing Tips

  • Always remain outside the vehicle when dispensing gasoline to avoid possible static discharge.
  • Never have open flames or cigarettes near the dispensing area.
  • Never leave the vehicle or container unattended while dispensing fuel.
  • Exercise extreme caution when operating dozers, dump trunks, or other large vehicles in the gasoline storage area.  These large vehicles can potentially clear safety pylons and damage the storage tanks.

 

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