TikTokkers Think Gasoline Has Lost Its Smell, but Is There a Simpler Explanation

TikTokkers Think Gasoline Has Lost Its Smell, but Is There a Simpler Explanation

Over the last several weeks, users on TikTok have begun to claim that they can no longer smell gasoline. The posts have gone viral, with a large number of individuals verifying in the comments that they, too, can no longer smell gas, whether at a gas station or directly from a bucket.

People have offered a variety of views as to what may be causing the problem, ranging from mass delusion to speculations including the government diluting gasoline. Many more people went to see for themselves, inhaling gas like the actors of Always Sunny in Philadelphia. One explanation is that ethanol dilution reduces the odor of gasoline. Though some speculated (incorrectly) that this was part of a government plot to hike petrol costs, it is true that gasoline may include up to 10% ethanol. 

Part of the rationale is to increase the octane of the gasoline, which makes it more resistant to detonation in the engine. Adding ethanol to gasoline is less expensive than making high-octane gasoline. Because ethanol is frequently generated from maize, it is a significant source of revenue for the American corn sector, and presidential candidates must support its ongoing use.

The Biden administration recently established the ethanol levels in gasoline for 2022, somewhat higher than 2021, mainly to assist cut gasoline costs following a surge in oil prices, and to lessen overall reliance on oil. It’s possible that some people’s noses are overly sensitive to the change, but there’s also the possibility that there’s a more straightforward reason.

Yes, much as scented candles receive bad press during COVID-19 outbreaks, it’s plausible that people can’t smell gasoline right now due to the virus’s effects. Though we don’t have any proof of this, given the information we know about scented candles courtesy to Internet investigator Kate Petrova, it’s feasible. Petrova decided to look at scented candle reviews to see if there was some type of pattern to the bad comments – and lo and behold, a gradual fall in reviews began in early 2020.

We all know that correlation does not imply causation. There’s a potential that folks stranded at home decided they were bored of staring at candles all day and opted to vent their frustrations on candles rather than the people they’re stuck with. However, there appears to be something here. When Petrova compared evaluations of scented candles to those of unscented candles, the reduction in ratings for scented candles was far greater.

Still not satisfied, Petrova sought to quantify the data by taking into consideration evaluations that clearly indicate a lack of fragrance. She expanded it to include the best five scented candles from four different manufacturers because there aren’t enough people sitting around writing detailed reviews of candles.

As you can see from the data, it appears that individuals are complaining about lessened candle fragrance when they should be scheduling a COVID-19 test, just like someone who needs an eye exam is moaning about their HDTV being all fuzzy. Although there is no concrete proof at this moment, it is possible that this is what is happening with gasoline.