A petrol engine (British English and Australian English) or gasoline engine (American English and Canadian English) is an internal combustion engine with spark-ignition, designed to run on petrol (gasoline) and similar volatile fuels.
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In most petrol engines, the fuel and air are usually pre-mixed before compression (although some modern petrol engines now use cylinder-direct petrol injection). The pre-mixing was formerly done in a carburetor, but now it is done by electronically controlled fuel injection, except in small engines where the cost/complication of electronics does not justify the added engine efficiency. The process differs from a diesel engine (also an reciprocating engine) in the method of mixing the fuel and air, and in using spark plugs to initiate the combustion process. In a diesel engine, only air is compressed (and therefore heated), and the fuel is injected into very hot air at the end of the compression stroke, and self-ignites. Liquefied petroleum gas engines and compressed natural gas engines can also fall under the petrol category.