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Petroleum products incidents

Domestic heating oil tank

Petroleum products are a group of substances derived from crude oil that are often used as fuels. These include petrol, gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel and heating oil; however some of these names are synonyms and refer to the same type of substance.  Although exposure to petroleum products is unlikely, spillages and leaks have the potential to affect humans and the environment.

The most common petroleum products and their uses are listed below:


Summary of properties


Petrol, gasoline

Highly flammable - flash point: <-21°C
Highly volatile liquid, boiling point: 20-200°C

Petrol engine car fuel, lawnmower fuel

Kerosene, jet fuel, heating oil, paraffin oil

Flammable - flash point: 37-65°C
Volatile liquid - boiling point: 150-

Domestic heating fuel*, aircraft fuel

Diesel, gas oil

Flammable - flash point: 52°C
Volatile liquid - boiling point: 282-

Domestic heating fuel*, diesel engine car fuel, generator fuel

*Both kerosene and diesel are used as domestic heating fuel. However kerosene is more commonly used in the UK.

Information for the public  

Information for members of the public who may want to know more about kerosene, diesel or petrol, how to store them safely and what to do in the event of a spill.

Information for professionals

Background information and response guidance for professionals responding to incidents involving petroleum products.