bric-a-brac english

Running on empty: liquid fuels

In VOCABULARY on January 20, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Liquid (not solid – water, wine, soup are liquids) fuels (stuff that is burned to produce energy) keep most cars going.

They include petrol (UK) / gas (US) and diesel (oil). When your car is low on petrol/gas, you can fill up at a petrol/gas station. If you don’t, you’ll be running on empty and your car will soon stop moving. The container where petrol/gas is stored on your car is called the tank.

The word petrol comes from petroleum – the oil we get from under the ground.

Gas is short for gasoline. Of course, the word gas also means “a substance that is neither solid nor liquid,” eg. oxygen. Natural gas is another type of fuel in gas form that we get from under the ground and is often used for heating our homes, cooking, etc.

Petroleum/oil and natural gas are fossil fuels. Fossils are the remains of living things buried underground for a very long time. They allow us to know what ancient living things that have disappeared looked like (read more and see pictures of fossils here). Petroleum and natural gas are called fossil fuels because they were formed from parts of plants or animals that remained buried under the ground for millions of years.

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