Where does the word “gasoline” come from? In 1862, a resourceful Brit called John Cassell peddled his patented petroleum product called Cazeline Oil. By the way, the word “petroleum” is Latin and means mineral oil. Cassell’s Cazeline was used in lamps and lanterns and it was popular because it produced an unusually bright flame.
An Irishman by the name of Samuel Boyd sold an imitation of Cassell’s oil, and to sidestep the patent law, he marketed his product as Gazelene.
Boyd’s Gazelene was later used in American sparkignition engines and the name eventually morphed into “gasoline”. The British colonies stuck with the scientific name “petroleum”, shortened to “petrol”. Most nations in the world, however, use the word “benzine” (not to be confused with “benzene”), while Spain and Portugal also refer to petrol as “gasoline”.