Is gasoline a pure substance or a mixture?

This one goes out to folks that liked to skip chemistry classes back in the day. As we get older, the cracks in our knowledge seem more noticeable. It’s no wonder why some people might ask themselves: Wait, is gasoline a pure substance? Or, is it a mixture?

Alright, it’s not like you can’t sleep without this data or somethin’. Still, one should be well-informed about every substance one uses on an everyday basis. That’s where we, Gas Answer‘s own info squad, come into the picture.

Gasoline qualifies as a mixture. Mixtures are substances “built” from at least two different chemical materials. Also, between those materials, there shouldn’t be a chemical bond. We can differentiate homogenous (uniform) and heterogeneous (non-uniform) mixtures. Gasoline’s mixed and processed so that users get consistency in performance. That’s why it’s a homogenous mixture.

In the text you’ll find below, we’ll elaborate more on the subject. Feel free to check it out!

Table of Contents

Why’s being informed about gasoline a good thing?

Wondering why gasoline is such an important topic? There’s a couple of reasons why that is so:

  • We handle gasoline regularly (almost every day). The machines we constantly use are powered by it. Most notably: gasoline-fueled cars.
  • Also, we should be very cautious when using gasoline. It is an easily-flammable substance. Storing gasoline away from any heating sources is highly recommended.
  • You can get into trouble not knowing certain regulations concerning gasoline. Also, say you unintentionally store more than your homeowner’s insurance policy allows. In an unfortunate case of a fire, the damage done won’t be covered by the insurance company.
  • Not knowing what type of gasoline your car should run on might damage your engine. Using the type not prescribed by the owner’s manual can cause some maintenance issues.

Even though there’s more to it, this selection pretty much says it all. Also, make sure you visit this page for cool gasoline-related facts.

How to safely store gasoline?

This is probably the second most important section of this text. The most important one, of course, is the answer to the question in the title. So, how does one safely store gasoline?

  • As we said, make sure it’s at a good distance away from any heating sources. Also, store it in an outside garage or shed. It shouldn’t be in the same building as you and your loved ones.
  • Store gasoline only in government-approved containers. They’re usually made out of high-quality plastic, also known as HDPE. The acronym stands for high-density polyethylene.
  • Make sure your children don’t go anywhere near your gasoline storage. Gasoline’s not something you want to play around with.
  • Check the local regulations on gasoline storage. That way you’ll know how many gallons can you store.
  • Last but not least, keep a fire extinguisher near the storage. You’ll want to act fast if something goes wrong!

In case we’ve forgotten to mention something, click here.

How long can gasoline stay in storage?

You might also wonder how long can gasoline stay in storage. Under optimal conditions, of course. Well, it depends. For example, pure gasoline can last you three to six months before it spoils. The ethanol-blended version has a bit shorter shelf life. It can last from two to three months before going bad. Lastly, by adding a fuel stabilizer to your gas you’ll add one to three years to its longevity.

Alright, that was that. We won’t keep you waiting any longer. Let’s check out the main question on today’s menu.

A photo of a vintage gasoline (petrol) station.

So, is gasoline a pure substance or a mixture? (and other info)

To put it simply: gasoline is a so-called mixture. It’s made out of different substances. There’s no bond between those substances. Also, we might want to explain what are pure substances first. Just so you know what gasoline isn’t.

What are pure substances?

So, when do we consider something to be a pure substance? A pure substance is a substance composed of a single building block. For instance, gold, iron, and lead classify as pure substances. The single building block can be a compound, also. We see that in carbon dioxide and water as well.

To conclude: if a substance needs to have another building block, we can’t consider it a pure one. Now you’ll see why gasoline doesn’t fit the description.

How do we get gasoline and what’s it made from?

We make gasoline through a process called fractional distillation of crude oil. The latter is broken into numerous petroleum products. We do this by heating petroleum until it breaks into components. Later, these so-called petroleum products travel to petrol stations via pipelines.

We can sum it up like this: gasoline is a refined product of petroleum (crude oil). It contains hydrocarbons (isooctane and heptane), additives, and blending agents. Also, gasoline can even have hundreds of different compounds. Depending on the product we’re talking about, that is. Anyway, it’s significant to know these compounds aren’t bonded to each other.

Now you see why we can’t consider gasoline as a pure substance.

Okay, and what are mixtures?

Now you’ll see why gasoline qualifies as a mixture. A mixture is a substance made up of at least two different chemical materials. Also, those materials aren’t chemically combined or bonded.

It’s not that hard to picture gasoline being a mixture. It’s made from hundreds of different compounds which aren’t bonded to each other.

Are there different kinds of mixtures?

Yes, there are. We can differentiate homogenous (uniform) and heterogeneous (non-unform) mixtures. Homogenous (uniform mixtures) are mixtures in which the compounds are distributed uniformly. We’ll give you an example: salt in water. Heterogenous (non-uniform mixtures) are mixtures whose compounds are evidently separate from one another. Example: sand in water.

Is gasoline a homogenous (uniform) or a heterogeneous (non-uniform) mixture?

As you might assume, gasoline’s a homogenous (uniform) mixture. We know this since gasoline is heavily processed and mixed so it becomes homogenous. That way, the people who’ll use it can expect consistency in performance. For example, say you were to take samples of the same gasoline from different areas. It’s highly probable those two samples would be the same.

Also, let’s not forget to mention this. Not all gasoline will stand the aforementioned test. There are various types of gasoline and they all differ from one another.

While we’re at it, what are the different types of gasoline?

Alright, we can also check out what kinds of gasoline can one expect to find at a petrol station:

  • Regular gasoline. This type has an octane rating of 87. It’s the most popular one, and about eighty percent of car owners use it.
  • Mid-grade gasoline. Also called: special, or plus gasoline. Only about seven percent of car models require you use this type. Also, it has an octane rating of 89-90. The rating’s not set in stone, it can vary from state to state.
  • Premium gasoline. It’s not hard to guess this one’s the most expensive type of gas. About ten percent of car models demand you use it. With an octane rating that varies from 91-93, it will make you get the best out of your vehicle.
  • Lower octane gasoline. With an octane level of 85, this one is sometimes used for driving in places with high altitudes. Although, most experts don’t recommend you use it. You might use it with older (classic) car models

Will my car run better on premium gasoline?

It depends. If your car is made to run on premium then: yes, it will perform better. Consult the owner’s booklet to check out what kind of gas you’re supposed to run your car with.

Running your car on a type of gas not designed for your vehicle isn’t a good option. It could potentially cause damage to your engine and many other issues. You’ll know something’s wrong you sense rotten eggs smell coming from your tailpipe. It probably means you’re running your car on gas with too much octane.

Is gasoline a pure substance or a mixture? – a quick recap

Alright, let’s go through the material we’ve talked about today.

We’ve learned that gasoline is a so-called mixture. A mixture is a substance “built” from at least two different chemical materials. Those materials shouldn’t be chemically combined. We’ve also noted that gasoline can have hundreds of different compounds. It’s not hard to connect the dots here, right?

In the beginning, we’ve also talked about gasoline storage. Don’t forget to go through those tips once again. Or, you can just click here.

Final words

Alright, folks. That was that. We hope you’ve enjoyed another gasoline 101, back-to-school article. Until we see each other again, best regards!