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Kerosene (or paraffin oil) is a mixture of volatile hydrocarbons having 10 to 16 carbon atoms per molecule. It is used as a fuel in jet engines, for heating and lighting, and as a solvent and paint thinner.

Although kerosene can be derived from oil, coal, and tar, most kerosene is produced from petroleum by refining and cracking. It was the major fuel product until the ascendancy of gasoline.

Kerosene boils between 150 and 300 degrees celsius.


The New American Desk Encyclopedia, Penguin Group, 1989