It's Local and Global Impacts


Gasoline is a very important fuel in modern day as gasoline is the primary chemical we use to fuel the internal combustion engines in our vehicles. Gasoline is a very effective, convenient and efficient fuel source. However, it releases large amounts of toxic substances while contributing a great deal to global warming. It is also a non-renewable resource so it will not be something we can depend on in the future. Gasoline has both pros and cons and affects our society both positively and negatively.
Big image

Application of Gasoline

The first commercial vehicles were powered by steam. This design was not very practical, because the engine system took up a lot of space (the coal, water and boiler) and was very heavy, making the vehicle very slow. The consumers and engineers needed a "fuel" which would need less space than the steam engine and could release more energy. The solution was gasoline.

Gasoline is most commonly used to fuel the engines in cars, airplanes and industrial/farming machinery. The key to gasoline's success over coal is that it ignites in air, releasing a lot of energy (much more than coal) at once. Gasoline engines use this property by spraying the gasoline into air, which creates a gasoline-air mixture which can easily explode. A spark is then created, igniting the fuel-air mixture, releasing energy which reciprocates pistons in an engine. This action is used to generate motion.


A small quantity of gasoline can release a lot of energy. Though the exact values depend on the additives, octane ratings and the engine itself, one gallon of gasoline can release about 1.3x10^8 joules, making it one of the more energy efficient fuels in the market.

Gasoline is a very practical fuel source because it has a low freezing point of -65 degrees celsius and high ignition temperature of 232 degrees celsius. Thus, it works in a large temperature range.

Gasoline is a product of crude oil and is usually refined using the technique cracking. With this technique, the refineries can choose to make as much gasoline as they want with a certain amount of crude oil. This can ensure the availability of gasoline as long as there is crude oil and the demand is present.

Big image


Though gasoline burns very efficiently, it releases several harmful substances while doing so. These byproducts are dangerous to our society and environment. The gases/substance released upon combustion of gasoline include:

  • Particles of soot and metal - can damage one's lungs
  • Hydrocarbons - causes coughing; making breathing difficult
  • Nitrogen Oxides - causes lung irritation; weaken resistance against respiratory infections
  • Carbon Monoxide - prevents oxygen from reaching the brain, heart and other organs
  • Sulfur Dioxide - reacts in air forming small particles which can affect breathing
  • Toxics (benzene, acetaldehyde, butadiene) - can cause several cancers and illnesses
  • Greenhouse Gases (carbon dioxide, methane) - contributes to global warming

One unique characteristic of gasoline is that it easily evaporates at temperature above -45 degrees celsius, becoming an explosive gas. This very dangerous because the gas will fill the entire volume of the room/environment. So a small spark can create a large explosion.

Another accident related to gasoline is an oil spill. People's demand for oil has forced retailers and manufacturers to transport lots of oil (not just gasoline). This poses a risk for oil spills to occur which can harm entire ecosystems by filling the area with the toxic chemical.

Gasoline is a product of crude oil and thus, creating a lot of gasoline creates a higher chance of having oil spills. Crude oil is also a a non-renewable resource. So gasoline will eventually will run out, and we will have no more gasoline. Our population is also increasing, and thus the demand for gasoline will increase. These two factors will make the price of gasoline rise quickly, and deplete our crude oil reserves quickly.

Social Factors

Gasoline is one of the most common fuels used in our society today, and it affects us in many different ways on a large scale. The social factors gasoline affects are:


Currently people pay a lot of money for gasoline, and businesses who sell crude oil - and its products - make a tidy profit. However, the price will continue to rise because our crude oil reserves are depleting. This will be bad for consumers. However oil companies will benefit from this and make even more money. It will also benefit people who invested in crude oil (stocks) because they will gain money.When it runs, out crude oil companies and people who have business with gasoline-powered vehicles will be negatively impacted. Companies will have to create vehicles which run on another ource of energy, and consumers will have to spend money and buy them if they still wish to have their own functioning automobiles. Overall gasoline has a big impact on our economy, and it will still have a big impact on our economy in the future.


Gasoline is very harmful to our environment, since when it burns, it releases bad byproducts that harm the environment. It pollutes the Earth's atmosphere, and most notably, gasoline contributes a great deal to global warming. When gasoline is burned it releases two of the byproducts; carbon dioxide and methane. Carbon dioxide and methane are greenhouse gases, and because gasoline is burned so frequently, lots of carbon dioxide and methane are released into the air every day. This warms the earth a lot by creating a blanket of gas which traps in the heat.

Another way in which gasoline hurts the environment is by releasing sulfur dioxide and various nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. These gases react with water vapor and other chemicals forming acids which then fall back onto the earth. Acid rain can harm the soil, plants, water and other parts of the environment.


When burned, gasoline releases many byproducts that are harmful to inhale and can cause several ailments, and can be so severe as to even cause cancer.

In Conclusion...

People have fueled their vehicles with gasoline for about a century because of it's efficiency and convenience. However, this action has released tons of harmful substances which spread diseases, pollute the environment and warm the Earth. It is also an expensive resource that needs to be purchased frequently. The usefulness of gasoline is outweighed by how dangerous it is and especially how much it will impact in our environment in the future if we keep using it in these enormous quantities. Thus, gasoline is not a good fuel source and an alternative one should be used.

Works Cited

CIEC Promoting Science at the University of York, York, UK. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from

When will oil run out? (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from

Cars, Trucks, and Air Pollution. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from

Cracking alkanes - thermal and catalytic. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from

(n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from

(n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from properties.pdf

Brain, M. (n.d.). Retrieved June 9, 2015, from

Ram P. and Yathin S.