Flame Lit – Part V – A micro-blog series of energy definitions and quick facts to help improve energy literacy

photo by author


Most of us still use gasoline to get around in our cars. We certainly obsess over the prices at the pump! Where does our gas come from anyway?  

Gasoline is a hydrocarbon. It is derived as one of the lighter fractions of crude oil and has molecules with C4-C12 carbon atoms and a boiling range of 30 – 225 C. [1]  It is made in a petroleum refinery along with other products such as jet fuel and diesel.  Canada has 14 refineries that produce gasoline and other products such as jet fuel and diesel.  

Refineries tend to be located either close to crude oil sources or to ports or major cities. [2] You can see their locations here.  

Crude oil from western Canada feeds many Canadian refineries. Pipelines stretch from the main oil production region in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) west to Vancouver, and east to Montreal. Western Canadian refineries use exclusively western crude, but eastern provinces also rely on offshore production and imports from the US and overseas. [2]

Once gasoline is produced, it is transported to one of 78 blending terminals in Canada where it is prepared for retail markets with final blending and additives. Ethanol (derived from crops) is also added to some blends. From here tanker trucks get the gas to your local service station!

A small amount of gasoline is imported to Canada from US refineries such as in BC from Washington state.

And what’s with those gas prices anyway? My next micro-blog will be Prices at the Pump. If you can’t wait – this article has just about everything you need to know!

Some quick facts on gasoline produced and used in Canada:

  1. Canada sold 46 billion litres of gasoline in 2018.
  2. Canada produced most of the gasoline sold but imported 7.6 billion litres.  
  3. For comparison, the US consumed 612.8 billion litres of gasoline in 2020.
  4. Gasoline represents 36% of all Canadian refinery product. Diesel is a close second at 33%.
  5. Canada has 11,948 gas stations.

Sources and more information can be found in these links:

[1] Science Direct – Gasoline

[2] CER – Where does Canada’s gasoline come from? (

3] Gasoline explained – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

[4] Gasoline Prices – Canadian Fuels Association

[5] Gasoline Prices

[6] Detailed North American Pipeline and Refinery Map

Alisa Caswell has a degree in chemical engineering. She spent twenty years working in the oil and gas industry, including roles in business development, operations, and energy conservation. You can follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter