"Gasolina" became a worldwide hit, letting Daddy Yankee gain popularity among Latino mainstream music fans as well, becoming a hit in Puerto Rico, the rest of Latin America, the Caribbean, United States, Canada, and Europe. "Gasolina" is one of the songs attributed with opening the door for reggaeton and creating a pathway for other stars in reggaeton. The song is said to be inspired by Daddy Yankee's one time love Nerea Sanchez. The song stayed true to reggaeton's musical stylings of synthesized beats yet had a catchy chorus.
At a campaign stop for Republican presidential nominee John McCain, Daddy Yankee endorsed McCain and performed this song live for students at Phoenix's Central High. A New York Times blogger has questioned if McCain and his campaign understood the song's double-entendres.
Salvadoran singer Papa A.P. released a cover version of "Gasolina" in Europe in 2005. It caused some controversy for being released there prior to Daddy Yankee's version, which had been released the previous year in the United States. It was the first single from his second studio album, Assesina.
Papa A.P. said that he initially refused to release the single before Daddy Yankee but was convinced to do so by his producers.[unreliable source?] He said about his version: "I do not regret that choice because even if it's not my title, everyone has very well accepted my version, even in the hood of New York". He claims his producers "came to an arrangement" with Daddy Yankee's producers. One week after the recording, his producer proposed shooting a music video, which was eventually shot in Tunisia.
His first European hit, the song reached the top ten in France, and also charted elsewhere around Europe.
This song was also recorded by La Fabrica and released in Europe before the song's official release by Daddy Yankee. La Fabrica's version peaked at number 3 in Greece before the original "Gasolina" was released.