What is the Difference Between Natural Gas and Gasoline

Natural gas and gasoline are vital energy sources in modern society. Both are fossil fuels. However, there is a distinct difference between natural gas and gasoline in terms of their composition, source, and utility.

What is the difference between natural gas and gasoline? Natural gas is mainly methane, whereas gasoline is a refined product originating from crude oil.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Natural Gas  
      – Definition, Features
2. What is Gasoline
      – Definition, Features 
3. Similarities Between Natural Gas and Gasoline
      – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Natural Gas and Gasoline
      – Comparison of Key Differences
5. FAQ: Natural Gas and Gasoline
      – Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Key Terms

Natural Gas, Fuel Gas, Gasoline

Difference Between Natural Gas and Gasoline - Comparison Summary

What is Natural Gas

Natural gas is a naturally occurring fuel source. It is often called fuel gas. It’s a mixture of gases, with methane (CH4) being the main component at around 97%. Other gases like carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and helium, and hydrocarbons like ethane and propane are also found together, along with methane in natural gas, in smaller amounts.

Natural gas is formed from decomposed organic matter which is millions of years old, being subjected to intense heat and pressure. These underground deposits are often present alongside other fossil fuels like oil. 

Natural Gas

There are two main processes of formation of natural gas, which is biogenic and thermogenic. Biogenic gas forms from organic matter decomposing in areas like swamps and landfills, while thermogenic gas takes much longer, being cooked by heat deep underground.

There are many uses of natural gas. They are often burnt to generate electricity, heat buildings, and as a fuel for some vehicles. This gas burns clearer than other fossil fuels. But it releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Hence, there should be alternatives to natural gas.

What is Gasoline

The core components of gasoline are hydrocarbons, organic molecules containing only hydrogen (H) and carbon (C) atoms. These can be straight-chained (alkanes), branched-chain (isoalkanes), cyclic (cycloalkanes), or include double bonds between carbons (alkenes). The ratio of the types of hydrocarbons present in the mixture determines the properties of gasoline, such as volatility, combustion efficiency, and potential for engine knocking. Aromatic hydrocarbons, like benzene and toluene, are another group of molecules present in gasoline. These ring-shaped compounds contribute to the fuel’s octane rating, which measures its ability to resist knocking. Other than these compounds, gasoline might contain anti-knock agents, detergents, antioxidants, and corrosion inhibitors.


Gasoline is a byproduct of refining crude oil. The refining process starts by heating crude oil at high temperatures to separate its various components. Gasoline has become a popular fuel in the transportation sector because of its high energy density and ease of use. Though it is very common in use, upon combustion, it releases greenhouse gases, causing climate change.

Similarities Between Natural Gas and Gasoline

  1. Natural gas and gasoline are fossil fuels.
  2. Both mainly consist of hydrocarbons.
  3. They are flammable.

Difference Between Natural Gas and Gasoline


  • Natural gas is mainly methane gas found in underground reservoirs, while gasoline is a refined product derived from crude oil.


  • While natural gas consists mainly of methane, gasoline is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons.


  • Natural gas is odourless and colourless, whereas gasoline is a flammable liquid with a distinct smell.


  • Natural gas is generally considered cleaner burning than gasoline, producing fewer emissions.


Natural gas, mainly composed of methane, is a fuel extracted from underground reservoirs that has been formed over millions of years. It’s commonly used for electricity, heating, and transportation due to its relatively clean-burning properties. Gasoline, on the other hand, is a mixture of hydrocarbons originating from crude oil refining, known for its high energy density, particularly in transportation. While both are fossil fuels consisting of hydrocarbons and are combustible, they differ in composition, origin, and use.

FAQ: Natural Gas and Gasoline

1. Is natural gas better than gasoline?

Natural gas is generally considered cleaner burning than gasoline, producing fewer emissions. However, both natural gas and gasoline produce greenhouse emissions.

2. Is gasoline made from natural gas?

Yes, natural gas could be converted into gasoline through GTL (gas to liquid) refinery process.

3. Are natural gas and petroleum gas the same?

No, they are not the same. Natural gas is naturally found underground and formed by the decomposition of organic matter over millions of years, whereas petroleum gas is a byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining.

4. Is diesel a natural gas?

No, diesel is not a natural gas. It is a liquid fuel. It is a product of the refining of petroleum.

5. What are the other gases present in natural gas?

Water vapour, ethane, butane, propane, pentane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide and sometimes helium and nitrogen are present in natural gas.


1. “Natural Gas.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
2. “Gasoline Fuel.” Encyclopedia Britannica.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Chuhuo” By User: (WT-shared) Naplee12 at wts wikivoyage (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Gasoline in mason jar” By Burger – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasini A

Hasini is a graduate of Applied Science with a strong background in forestry, environmental science, chemistry, and management science. She is an amateur photographer with a keen interest in exploring the wonders of nature and science.

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