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How Does Diesel Fuel Differ From Regular Gas?

Monday, October 26th, 2015

There are many types of fuel, and although they share the same purpose, there are major differences between them. Fuels differ in both their composition and the amount of energy they generate during the combustion process. The features of diesel fuel and regular gas, and the power produced by the two, differ greatly. However, the main way in which the fuels differ can be found in how each functions within an engine. There are also differences between these petroleum based fuels and biodiesel.

The features of diesel fuel and regular gas

Diesel fuel is produced using a hydrocarbon mixture that is the result of the distillation of crude oil and is denser than gas. Diesel’s boiling point is higher than that of water, which means that it has an extremely low evaporation point. Regular gas can evaporate at room temperature. Diesel fuel is also classified as combustible, meaning it requires compression and heat to function. By comparison, regular unleaded gas is considered a flammable liquid, which means that all it requires is a spark to function as a fuel.

Another difference between diesel fuel and regular gas is that regular gas contain more sulfur. Diesel’s chemical composition is C14H30, and while the extra atoms make a big difference during the combustion process, they produce more greenhouse emissions.

The power produced by diesel fuel and regular gas

Diesel fuel opponents neglect to mention that the power generated from its combustion is several times greater than that of regular gas. This increase in power output makes the fuel more efficient than regular gas. Diesel has a higher energy density than gasoline, with one gallon producing 155x 10 to the sixth power joules. Gasoline only produces 132×10 to the sixth power joules. In other words, one gallon of diesel produces 147,000 BTUs compared to 125,000 BTUs of a gallon of regular gas. Additionally, diesel fuel does not contain Ethanol, which is placed in regular gas to make it more efficient.

While diesel fuel is highly efficient for use within trucks and heavy machinery, it is less effective in automobiles. In fact, the EPA has conducted studies that show diesel performs less-efficiently in cold weather conditions than regular gas.

How diesel fuel and regular gas function within engines

The real difference between the two fuels is how they function within the engine. A diesel engine uses direct fuel injection, so the fuel is injected directly into the cylinder, which is designed to withstand considerable pressure and heat. This type of engine might also contain a glow plug that makes the combustion process more efficient in cold weather conditions. Engines that use regular gas require less pressure and heat because the spark plug is sufficient to create the spark required to ignite it.

Differences between petroleum based fuels and biodiesel

In addition to diesel fuel and regular gas, another product that is making waves is biodiesel. Biodiesel is produced from vegetable oil, animal fat, and recycled restaurant greases. Safe, biodegradable, and less polluting than petroleum based fuels, biodiesel is being advertised as an energy source for the future. As research and development of this new fuel source expands, it will surely become a major market player in the future. While it is still evolving, the fuel is being blended with standard diesel fuel. In fact, this fuel is a highly efficient additive that companies including Mercedes, Chrysler, Volkswagen, and many car manufactures are investing millions to research and develop.

At Kendrick Oil, we distribute a wide variety of wholesale fuels including diesel and regular gas. If you are in need of wholesale fuel or if you have any questions on any of our products or services, give us a call at (806) 250-3991. You can connect with us via email through our contact us page. We have locations in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas.