BrainStuff Classics: Why Does Gasoline Smell So Good?



I'm Jeff Rosenthal. Co-founder of summit a thought leadership community ideas festival, and I have a new podcast called art of the hustle. We'll be breaking down how the world's most fascinating successful. People have hustled their way to the top hearing their wisdom and understanding their ways of seeing with guests like Ireland Hamilton and Tim Ferriss, new episodes drop every Wednesday. So subscribe now on apple podcasts or listen on the iheartradio app or anywhere else. You find podcasts. Welcome to brain stuff from how stuff works. Hey, brain stuff, I'm Lauren Vogel bomb. And today's episode is a classic from our erstwhile host Christian Seder. This one was a script in our old YouTube days, and we found that it was one of our most controversial why does gasoline smell so good for those of you thinking what gasoline smells gross, just believe us for some folks it smells delicious. Either. Gang. I'm Christian Sager and had you ever been to the gas station before filling up your jalopy when suddenly your nostril hairs twins with an aromatic burning sensation it's like the wise sages of Leonard Skinner once saying ooh that smell. Can't you smell that smell? I'm talking about gasoline people. Why does it smell so good? While the first answer is pretty simple actually gasoline or petrol as our friends across the pond like to call. It contains a chemical hydrocarbon called benzine used to boost its octane rating and benzene naturally has a sweet scent to it that our noses are especially sensitive to in fact, it evaporates so quickly that you'd smell benzine instantly. If you just put some in a dish in the same room, you're in it is so pungent we can get a whiff of it. If there's only one to five parts per million in the air, we breathe and benzenes not just in gasoline. We use it in plastics pesticides and detergents. It's also in a lot of mass. Produced toys. So it's possible. You're associating the smell of gasoline with that new toys smell from your childhood, but don't let it's odor. Get. It's enchanting hooks in you too far because Skinner also had it, right? When they sang that smell, the smell of death surrounds you. That's right. The smell of benzene can be fork. But it's also toxic. If you inhale large amounts of it it actually attacks your nervous system. Luckily, it's so pungent that we have plenty of warning before hazardous exposure. That's why it can start to make you nauseous or give you a headache after awhile and the consequences of sniffing too, much benzine and gasoline are not pretty inhalant abuse leads to loss of consciousness, seizures liver injury and distress within your heart and lungs keep going after that and you're looking at neurological impairment and straight up brain damage, the EPA OSHA and who also categorized benzene as a carcinogen the cancers. It's associated with the most are leukemia and. Mm foam and get this. There's possibly another less dangerous reason why we like the smell of gasoline so much. A study published in two thousand nine issue of addiction research in theory indicates that gasoline smells better to us when we're hungry. It found that people rate the smell of gasoline as being more pleasant and intense the longer it had been since they'd last eaten more research is obviously required. But there seems to be a link between our degree of hunger and our odor perception of gasoline. Maybe that's why gas stations make such a killing on selling junk food. Today's episode was written by Christian and produced by Tyler clang for more on this and lots of other topics. Visit our home planet. How stuff works dot com. Hebron's listeners today. I wanted to tell you about the new podcast the brink in which hosts aerial Casten and Jonathan Strickland shared the stories of entrepreneurs who took a bold step without really, knowing if solid ground would be on the other side, tune into learn how Walt Disney bet his company and his house on the world's first feature length cartoon, and how a refugee from Vietnam turned a door to door business into a chili sauce empire every week. The brink will bring you news stories of the trials and triumphs of people who didn't let adversity stop their dreams because sometimes things just don't go your way. But what really matters are the choices you make when the odds are against you. You can listen and subscribe to the brink on apple podcasts iheartradio app or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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