Kerosene is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid. The name is derived from Greek: κηρός (keros) meaning wax. The word "Kerosene" was registered as a trademark by Abraham Gesner in 1854, and for several years, only the North American Gas Light Company and the Downer Company (to which Gesner had granted the right) were allowed to call their lamp oil "Kerosene" in the United States. It eventually became a genericized trademark. It is sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage. The term "kerosene" is common in much of Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Kerosene is usually called paraffin in the UK, Ireland, Southeast Asia and South Africa. A more viscous paraffin oil is used as a laxative. A waxy solid extracted from petroleum is called paraffin wax. Kerosene is widely used to power jet engines of aircraft (jet fuel) and some rocket engines, but is also commonly used as a cooking and lighting fuel and for fire toys such as poi. In parts of Asia, where the price of kerosene is subsidized, it fuels outboard motors on small fishing boats.
Kerosene lamps are widely used for lighting in rural areas of Asia and Africa where electrical distribution is not available or too costly for widespread use. Total kerosene consumption is equivalent to about 1.2 million barrels per day.
Kerosene in some jurisdictions such as the U.S. is legally required to be stored in a blue container to avoid it being confused with the much more flammable gasoline, which is typically kept in a red container. In other jurisdictions, like many in Europe, there are no specific requirements for the storage of kerosene other than the container has to be closed and marked with its contents.