Aromatics in petroleum products
Aromatics are an important element in gasoline blending because they are a key source of highly valued octane. However, some aromatics are also toxic to humans and a contributor to smog when released into the atmosphere. As a result, refiners typically try to maximize the aromatics content of gasoline up to a limit set to address environmental concerns.
Regulations typically limit both the overall volume percent of aromatics and the volume percent of benzene in particular.
Aromatics in refinery feedstocks
Highly aromatic streams can also be used to make aromatics products such as benzene, toluene, and xylene. All of these are important feedstocks to petrochemicals. Consequently, many refiners will extract these products from reformate and sell them as final products.