Are Heating Oil, Petroleum, and Gasoline the Same?

oil vs petro vs gasAs it can happen with products that have similar qualities, the terms “heating oil,” “petroleum,” and “gasoline” are interchanged and misused. For the uninformed, a simple mix-up when speaking can create confusion but a mix-up when researching or using the products can be quite costly. This article will help clarify any confusion by defining these terms and explaining their particular applications.

What is Home Heating Oil?

At its most basic, heating oil (also known as #2 heating oil in the United States) is a liquid mixed-petroleum hydrocarbon product used for heating a building. Heating oil in the United States has an ultra-low sulfur content and a low “thickness,” or viscosity. It condenses at a temperature range of 250o-350o C, placing it in the middle range of other petroleum derivatives. 
Heating oil has a very close chemical similarity to diesel fuel, so they are dyed in different colors. Heating oil, which is generally cheaper since it is not subject to fuel taxes, is dyed red, per IRS regulations. Diesel is dyed green. Blue dye designates diesel fuel for government use.
Standard home heating oil blended with biodiesel results in Bioheat®, a clean-burning, low-sulfur heating oil. Biodiesel is a blend of diesel and renewable oils from soybeans, corn, vegetables, recycled cooking/restaurant oils, or animal fats. Proportions of standard oil and biodiesel classify Bioheat® fuel. B2 blends 98% standard oil and 2% biodiesel, B5 blends 95% standard oil and 5% biodiesel, and so on. Tragar Express provides environmentally-friendly Bioheat® to its customers at no additional charge.

What is Petroleum?

Petroleum is simply the name given to oil or crude oil. The term “petroleum” encompasses crude, unrefined oil and the products created from refined oil. Petroleum is fossil fuel oil composed of dead algae and zooplankton, formed from heat and pressure. Hydrocarbons derived from petroleum are used to manufacture liquid fuels, including gasoline, diesel, and kerosene, in addition to wax, tar, sulfur and sulfuric acid, asphalt, and lubricants, including motor oil and machine oil. 

What is Gasoline?

As we explained above, gasoline is a fuel oil derived from petroleum. Mostly organic in chemical composition, gasoline is used to power combustion engines such as those found in cars and trucks. The gas you purchase to fill up your vehicle contains chemical additives to improve combustion and increase its long-term storage stability. Since gasoline is a blended product, it can separate if stored too long without an additive.
Gasoline is classified by its octane rating, which measures the compression before the fuel detonates. The higher the octane rating, the higher performance provided. Aviation gasoline is an example of a high octane fuel. 

Home Heating Oil vs. Petroleum vs. Gasoline

As you can see, there are distinct differences but clear connections between the commodities known as heating oil, petroleum, gasoline and their applications. Petroleum is the prime component, as it is the basis for home heating oil and gasoline, two products that should never be swapped or interchanged. Now that these distinctions have been made clear, this should help when shopping around for fuel prices and understanding their interdependence. 

Oil Burner Maintenance and Repair Service

To get the best discount prices for Bioheat® home heating oil, call Tragar Express today. Orders placed before 10 AM are eligible for same-day delivery. We also offer a full range of repair services for oil heat and gas heat systems. Our parent company, Tragar, has been serving Nassau County and Suffolk County residents for over 60 years with 5-star customer service. For information about heating system upgrades or schedule a COD oil delivery, call Tragar Express today at (516) 206-3805. You can also email us at