What are the meanings of ガス in Japanese?

I'm asking because in English it can be used for either "a substance in a form like air that is neither solid nor liquid" or, for gasoline, the liquid fuel. In Spanish we dont use "gas" for gasoline, we call it several other names depending the country ("nafta", "bencina", etc.). Also, the main use of the word "gas" here in my country is to refer to the specific gas for cooking, butane.

up vote 15 down vote accepted

While it does appear in the Japanese dictionaries with the meaning of "gasoline", I would say it is not common to use it like in English, except for a few special cases like ガス欠{けつ}(being out of fuel) and ガス代{だい} (gas bill*; can be used for both things such as propane gas and for other types of fuel, like gasoline, diesel, etc).

In general I would say that people use the words ガソリン or 油{あぶら}. The latter word simply means oil, but from context one understands what type of oil is meant, that is, any type of petroleum 石油{せきゆ} (refined from crude oil 原油{げんゆ}), such as gasoline, diesel etc.

Diesel is referred to as 軽油{けいゆ} or ディーゼル. ディーゼル is used more when talking about the type of car or engine, whereas 軽油 is used more when referring to the actual fuel, however at e.g. gas station you will see a mix of both.

A gas station is referred to as ガソリン スタンド, and can be shortened in a few different ways, the most common being ガソスタ (63 %), スタンド (~<19 %) or ガススタ (18 %) ( https://autoc-one.jp/news/5001816/ )

*In Japan it is common to subscribe to a refueling service with your local gas station, meaning that they fill up your cars regularly either by coming to your home/work and then send out a bill every month.

  • "they fill up your cars regularly either by coming to your home/work" Are you sure on that one (and where is the "or"?) - I've never heard of such a thing, and it probably would be illegal, let alone dangerous. – Ken Y-N Sep 25 at 5:55
  • While I can't speak for the legality of it, I know that it is common in the region where I live, so I would suppose it is legal. Why would it be illegal? – bjorn Sep 25 at 7:17
  • Do they bring the gasoline to your car somehow, or do they collect your car, drive it to a fueling station, and return it afterward? In the USA, I think only the second option would comply with the laws controlling how gasoline can be transported. Of course Japan may have different laws for this. – zwol Sep 25 at 13:26
  • From my experience, for vehicles they come and collect it from you, drive it to the gas station, refuel it and then return it, whereas kerosene and similar (used e.g. for heating in homes), they bring a truck with kerosene to your house and fill up your containers. – bjorn Sep 25 at 13:43
  • This is in fact legal in the USA and I would assume elsewhere. I can't speak to how its commonly done in Japan but in the US there are a number of services (Yoshi, WeFuel, Boster, Filld, etc) who will come around to your home or office with a gas truck and fill your parked car – Indigo Sep 25 at 14:37

ガス actually does means also "gas" and "gasoline" in Japanese, and has more meanings.

The word ガス usually written using kana alone, but it has the Ateji 瓦斯{ガス} which is rare.

Some definitions from Jisho, a Japanese dictionary:

  1. gas (state of matter, e.g. poison gas, natural gas)​ Usually written using kana alone, From Dutch; Flemish , From English
  2. gasoline; gas; petrol​ ...

You can the see full description of ガス here.

According to the dictionary, ガス may also mean "gasoline".
It may also mean "fart"...

https://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/word/en/瓦斯/#je-12168
https://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/40935/meaning/m1u/瓦斯/

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