Petroleum Hydrocarbon Ranges

The analytical technique and methodology used for petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC) testing depends on the carbon atom range of the petroleum products of interest. There are general guidelines for the ranges of gasoline, diesel, residual range organics, oil-range organics, etc. (see below), but each state and, sometimes, each site within a state, may change the boundaries of each range to target their specific analytes of interest based on the cleanup criteria, toxicity, and type of product spilled.

In addition some states have specific prescribed petroleum hydrocarbon methods for each range, and some even for each class of hydrocarbons (aliphatic or aromatic) being tested. As of January 2012, these states are AK, AZ, CT, FL, ID (NW TPH), MA, MI, MO (GC/MS), MN (WI Methods), MT (MA Methods) MS, NJ , OK, OR (NW TPH), PA, TN, TX, WA (NW TPH), and WI. This list may not be inclusive. Please call the laboratory for current information.


Petroleum Fractions by Carbon Range


Chemical Analysis Overview


The following table gives the various analytical tests and their corresponding typical carbon ranges.


Fuel Scan C6-C40 Semi Quantitative
Gasoline range organics (GRO) C6-C12 Quantitative
Diesel range organics (DRO) C10-C28 Quantitative
Oil range organics (ORO) C20-C35 Quantitative
Residual range organics (RRO) C25-C36 Quantitative
Volatile petroleum hydrocarbons (VPH) C5-C12 ALIPHATICS** + C9-C10 AROMATICS*** Quantitative
Extractable petroleum hydrocarbons (EPH) C9-C36 ALIPHATICS** + C11-C22 AROMATICS*** Quantitative

*    Carbon range may differ from state to state. These ranges are the most common.
**   Aliphatics - Petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs) that do not contain benzene rings.
***  Aromatics - Petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs) that contain benzene rings.