This study addresses the dielectric performance of nonpolar hydrocarbon liquids and mineral oils under positive polarity stress. It is of interest to improve knowledge on how functional properties of dielectric liquids vary, as new brands arrive in the market, and existing standards are unsuited for documenting the dielectric functional parameters of these new liquids. Stopping length for non-breakdown streamers, breakdown voltages and velocities for various pre-breakdown streamer modes have been studied for a selection of model liquids (cyclohexane and white oils), for a gas to liquid oil, and a refined naphthenic transformer oil. Studies of propagation modes were done using an 80 mm point to plane gap and a step voltage with a 0.5 μs rise time. Light emission and pre-breakdown currents have been recorded and instantaneous velocities have been derived from images of propagating streamers. There are clear differences in streamer stopping lengths and mode occurrence and mode velocities between these liquids. The differences seem to be influenced by molecular sizes governing evaporation energy for streamer formation and by concentration of aromatics which can be coupled to electron avalanche processes in the streamer heads.