The word "gasoline" originated by 1864.
US Patent No. 45,568, dated 20 December 1864, explains:
One of the products obtained from the distillation of petroleum is a colorless liquid having an ethereal odor and being the lightest in specific gravity of all known liquids. This material is known now in commerce by the term gasoline.
The word "petrol" is much older than "gasoline".
The 1634 A discourse of military discipline devided into three boockes, declaringe the partes and sufficiencie ordained in a private souldier, and in each officer; servinge in the infantery, till the election and office of the captaine generall; and the laste booke treatinge of fire-wourckes of rare executiones by sea and lande, as alsoe of firtifasions mentions petrol twice, the first instance being:
take three partes of fine and strong pouder, five of solpher, eighte of refined saltpeter, or eight and haulfe, afterwardes mingell all thies mixtures well togither til yove corporate them, and put to them alitle petrol oyle, so muche that they corporate togither, and let them drie well in the sun, and beinge well dried, fill the pattar with the saied mixtures, for the tienge of thies pattares
The 1661 Glossographia, or, A dictionary interpreting all such hard words of whatsoever language now used in our refined English tongue with etymologies, definitions and historical observations on the same : also the terms of divinity, law, physick, mathematicks and other arts and sciences explicated has an entry:
Petrol(petroleum) a kind of Marle or Chaulky Clay, or rather a substance strained out of the natural Bitumen: It is for the most part white, but sometimes black, and being once set on fire can hardly be quenched; see Napthe.
The 1743 Cyclopedia has a section on petrol which begins:
Petrol then is a black liquid bitumen, only differing by its liquidity from other bitumens, as asphaltum, jet, &c. See BITUMEN. The naphtha, which is either a liquid, or at least a very soft bitumen, is much the same with petrol.
However, the above original meaning did not refer to a distilled product. The term "petrol" was redefined to refer to a distilled product by Bussenius and Eisenstück in 1860, as explained in The London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science. Later references such as the 1883 Dictionary of Chemistry and the Allied Branches of Other Sciences specify that "petrol" (according to the meaning of Bussenius and Eisenstück) is C8H10.
The 1899 The Automotor Pocket Book of Automotive Formulae and Commercial Intelligence shows that, at least in the United Kingdom, the meaning of "petrol" had changed to a distilled product; however, it did not have the same meaning as "gasoline". Instead, "gasoline" was the lightest fraction of petrol.
This liquid is one of the products obtained by the distillation of petroleum, and forms one of the naphtha series of hydrocarbons. Petrol, known also as "Light Oil," "Mineral Spirit," "Moto-car Spirit," "Moto-Essenee," "Petroline," "Moto-Naphtha" is an exceedingly volatile and inflammable liquid, hence it readily evaporates, and an explosive mixture of air and petrol vapour is easily formed. It forms a clean, compact and very efficient source of energy for internal combustion motors. The principal varieties of petrol are :
[begin table listing specific gravities]
Gasoline .. .. .. .. .. .. 0.650
Motor Car Spirit .. .. .. .. .. 0.680
Benzoline .. .. .. .. .. .. 0.700
Benzine .. .. .. .. .. .. 0.720
The same distinction between "petrol" and "gasoline" is retained in the 1902 version of the book.
Similarly, the 29 December 1904 article in the journal Nature, Oils for Motor-Cars maintains this distinction between "petrol" and "gasoline".
The article uses the term "petrol" as a generic term for light fractions of oil, but says:
Of these, gasoline has the lowest density
One of the first mentions of the word "petrol" being used in England as the equivalent of American "gasoline" is in the "Daily Consular and Trade Reports" (1905) of Washington article Automobiles and Gasoline in England:
There are very few American motor cars in the Liverpool district, and those few are made by a company which has recently been advertising extensively. Gasoline (or petrol, as it is called in England) is retailed at from 1 shilling (24 cents) to 1 shilling and 6 pence (36 cents) per gallon
In the 11 July 1908 issue of The Autocar a letter from Fredrick Simms was published which claimed that he, when introducing the Daimler motor to England in 1890, visited Carless, Capel and Leonard and suggested the term "petrol" specifically for the specific gravity fraction 0.680 to 0.700. He writes that the term "petrol" was then adopted by three companies: 1. Carless, Capel and Leonard, 2. Simms and Co., and 3. Daimler Motor Syndicate Co. He writes that he chose the word "petrol" so that it would sound safe.
There are three slightly earlier articles in this volume of The Autocar all arguing over the origin of the current meaning of "petrol" (see pages 817, 888 and 928 (position of Carless, Capel and Leonard)).