There are certain smells that everyone can agree are amazing: a nice vanilla candle, fresh-cut grass, the outdoors after it rains. These are universal scents that will please any set of nostrils.
But there's one smell that's a little polarizing when it comes to popularity, and that's gasoline. Yep, the smell of gasoline is considered the best by some, but the worst by others. Those who love it wish they could smell it all day long, while those who hate it wonder how anyone could love the smell of a toxic noxious chemical.
But it turns out, there's actually a scientific reason that some people love the smell of gasoline, and another theory that hasn't totally been proven.
The Unproven Theory
Because gasoline is a noxious gas, it can give you the same feel as if you were drunk. Petroleum is made up of benzene and other hydrocarbons, which are also found in things like glue and cleaning solutions. They're what make you feel "loopy" if you inhale them too much.
That's why you shouldn't really be standing around huffing a can of gasoline to make yourself feel better, but it does explain why some people love the smell of fuel.
Be careful, though, if you find yourself always coming in contact with the smell of gasoline. Benzene has been associated with many types of blood cancers, which is not worth the pleasant smell or temporary high.
The Scientific Reason
In case you didn't know, smell is one of the biggest nostalgia triggers. Dr. Alan Hirsch, a neurologist and psychiatrist with an expertise in smell and taste, says that we most likely associate the smell of gasoline with our childhood, which is why we love it as adults.
For most people, the smell of gasoline reminds them of their childhood summers. Whether it was being at the lake on a boat powered by gas, smelling the fuel from your dad's pick-up truck while you rode in the back, or even just being outside frequently when the smell of gas would flutter into the air, summers are usually a happy memory for most. When we smell gasoline, we are reminded of those happy times and memories, which is why we love it.
That being said, those who dislike the smell of gasoline may have had unhappy childhoods. A study conducted by the Association for Consumer Research saw that "one person in 12 who reported having an unhappy childhood, was more than twice as likely to describe such foul odors as mothballs, body odor, dog waste, sewer gas, [and] bus fumes."