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I received an email today, which seems to well and truly have done the rounds. It begins with the following: "I don't know what you guys are paying for Petrololine", and goes on to mention both Petrol and Petroline (both in title case), in a seemingly interchangeable manner.

I have never heard of the word petrololine, and cannot, for the life of me, find anything remotely close to a definition for it online. For the most part, Google just returns links to sites all over the place, in which the monologue (for want of a better word,) has been duplicated.

In the course of my browsing, I have seen sites in which petrololine and petrol are listed in the same sentence, in such a way as to indicate that they are entirely separate substances. On the other hand, some sites seem to use petrololine directly in place of petrol, (such as in describing petrololine engines as opposed to diesel ones).

Does anyone know what petrololine is, if it bears any difference from run-of-the-mill petrol, and whether or not the word is in fact a trademarked term that should be capitalised in writing?

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Petroline = Petrol + Gasoline? –  rest_day Jun 30 '11 at 22:57
    
I did consider that at first, but then I thought: why would anyone append an unecessary suffix to the end of a word, to make it longer to write and much more difficult to speak, without adding any further meaning or nuance? –  bracho monacho Jun 30 '11 at 23:23
    
I was going to guess that it was coined because "gasoline" doesn't mean anything in the UK (except insofar as we are familiar with it from American media) and "petrol" doesn't mean anything in the US. But that doesn't explain why they would use "petrol" as well. –  Colin Fine Jul 1 '11 at 14:58
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2 Answers

I have not heard about petrololine till now. It could be someone trying to be knowledgeable by using big words or trying to give a technical slant to the mail.

The closest I came across is Petroline, as Mike mentioned, which is the name given to petroleum from Rangoon (then capital of Burma). This name was proposed by Robert Christison, a professor in University of Edinburgh. In 1832, he identified a new material while analyzing the petroleum from Rangoon whose properties were different from other varieties and named it 'Petroline'. This substance was later found to be paraffin, which had been earlier obtained from coal-tar by another scientist,Reichenbach (in 1830). Since Reichenbach was the first to discover it, I guess the name paraffin stuck and Petroline sort of faded away.

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Again, it was not petroline that was used, but petrololine. Here's a company site that also uses the word: www.centron.co.za/faq/petrol.html –  bracho monacho Jul 1 '11 at 7:59
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I reckon it is a portmanteau of the two words "petrol" and "gasoline".

The author's intention is to include both petrol and gasoline in one word, so he doesn't need to keep repeating petrol and gasoline, petrol and gasoline, petrol and gasoline, etc.

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