Gasoline is a mixture of about 150 chemicals refined from crude oil. It is usually a colorless, light brown or pink liquid. Gasoline is used in cars, boats, motorcycles, lawn mowers and other engines. Gasoline usually contains additives affecting the way it burns. (A separate chemical fact sheet is available for MTBE, an additive used to reduce air pollution.) Gasoline is a powerful fuel for engines and a dangerous explosive!
Gasoline evaporates quickly when exposed to air. Most gasoline spilled in lakes, streams or soil evaporates. Some spilled gasoline can seep into groundwater and remain unchanged for years. Private wells located near a spill or a buried leaking tank may become contaminated. Scientists refer to gasoline components that mix with water as gasoline range organics (GRO).
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