I get always confused with that. What am I suppose to use for what and where (US English / UK English?)


I need "gas / petrol / benzine / gasoline" for my car.


6 Answers 6


Gas is the US term for the fuel put in cars; the Brits call it petrol.

Gasoline is the full word that gas is shortened from, but no one is likely to say "I need to put some gasoline in my car" (though we would be likely to say "Your garage smells like gasoline!" in the US. When it's being put into a car it's gas; when it's being discussed in any other way it's most often gasoline).

I've never heard benzine used in reference to car fuel. In fact before looking it up just now, I'd only ever heard it in reference to its use in sodas! I don't think anyone uses benzine to describe car fuel. Suffice it to say that if you use gas or petrol, depending on your location, you will be perfectly well understood.

  • 1
    As a Brit I'd say you're correct - I've never seen benzine used as the word for car fuel in English, always petrol (except for diesel cars, which we have a lot more of proportionally than the US does). Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 16:54
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    The German word for gasoline is das Benzin. Maybe that's what OP had in mind.
    – The Photon
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 19:22
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    Wendi, British people don't use the word benzine to mean motor vehicle fuels.
    – Tristan
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 22:56
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    +1. Car fuel in the US is gas (preferable) or gasoline and in the UK is petrol. Petroleum, benzine and benzene do not refer to fuel, but rather to specific petrochemicals, some of which are used in the manufacture of fuel. Gas is not widely understood to mean car fuel in the UK, and petrol is not widely understood to mean car fuel in the US. You must use the form that is local to where you are to be properly understood.
    – Matt
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 23:14
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    We typically say "gasoline" when we want to make sure that it's clear that we are not talking about natural gas. "Your garage smells like gasoline" is an example of when we might want to make that distinction.
    – BobRodes
    Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 3:13

"I need "Gas / Petrol / Benzine / Gasoline" for my car."

In AmE, "I need gas for my car" refers to gasoline that you would buy at a gas station.

But "I need gas for my stove," or "I need gas for my heater (or furnace)" refers to natural gas that is usually piped into your home by a utility company.

You generally wouldn't say "gasoline" or "natural gas" in informal speech, unless it were needed to clarify which kind of gas you were talking about:

"They threw gasoline onto the wood stacked up for the bonfire."

"The natural gas plant is a few miles from town."


"After paying my gas bill, I had just enough money left over to put gas in the car."

If you need petrol for your car, you're someplace where they speak British English.

If you need benzine/benzene for your car, I'm pretty sure you're speaking something other than American or British English.

  • 1
    In English, the only meaning I'm aware of for "benzene" is a carcinogenic compound which has a ring of six carbon atoms surrounded by hydrogen. Other languages may have similar-sounding words for gasoline, but I think most motor fuels are primarily blends of heptane, octane, and nonane.
    – supercat
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 15:04

Table of some of the terms used.

Desription USA Britain Australia
Light liquid petroleum, C8H18 gasoline, shortened to gas Petrol, though gasoline is understood As Britain
Heavier petroleum. A mix averaging at C12H24 Diesel (mostly for trucks) Diesel Diesel
Propane (C3H8 ) and butane (C4H10 ) Autogas or LP Gas LPG (abbreviation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas) LPG or gas
Ethyl alcohol C2H5OH Corn ethanol Ethanol, E100 (rare) as Britain ?
  • marked CW feel free to extend/correct
    – James K
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 10:55
  • I've never encountered "autogas" in casual usage or signage in the USA. Always "LP gas" [not LPG] or "propane". Possibly omitting the word "gas" in some adjectival uses like "LP tank".
    – supercat
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 15:06

Gas is short for gasoline. You can also put "gas" into your car that is not gasoline, for instance liquid petroleum gas which, here in Australia is very popular (and cheap) which is actually gaseous. When people say "fill my car with gas", I instantly think they mean LPG. I think that petrol is a much more satisfactory word, due to the fact that gas can mean something completely different (as an end result). All of it really comes from petroleum anyway, (just refined).

  • I've edited the post to salvage the pertinent information; now that it has had the Australian economic commentary stripped, it may be useful, but still lacks a response to benzine and is a possible candidate for deletion.
    – jimsug
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 11:29

I can remember as a young child growing up in New Zealand in the fifties, hearing the word benzine being used as a word for petrol. As in, "I'm going to the garage to put some Benzine in my car". Then again, as a child, I could have misinterpreted what was being talked about. There were many different grades of petrol as well as many additives.


In Britain, you call it petrol. In India, you call it petrol. In the U.S., you call it gas or gasoline.

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    Please refrain from "SMS-speak" (or "text speak") in your answers. This is a site dedicated to Engish. It's "you" (not "u"); it's "Britain" (not "britan"); it's "India" (not "india"); It's "In the U.S." (not "in us"). Your answer was just 20 words long, yet I've found and corrected 8 errors in it (and one person downvoted before I could clean it up). I didn't mind editing this, but in the future, you need to put some care into your answers; quality answers help distinguish the Stack Exchange from other online sites.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 23:04
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    ELL would be the one site where I would hope to find correct English more than all others.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 17:48

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