What’s the Main Difference Between Diesel and Gasoline?

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What's the Main Difference Between Diesel and Gasoline?

Did you know that last year Americans used roughly 135 billion barrels of gasoline? Despite the prevalence of this fuel source, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the topic.

One beginner mistake is thinking that gasoline and diesel are the same things. So, what is the difference between diesel and gasoline?

If you want to learn the answer to this question, and more, then you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about these two important fuel sources. Let’s get started!

What Is Gasoline?

Before we go into the differences between these two fuel types, it’s important to go over some definitions. That way, we understand how these two things are fundamentally different from one another.

Let’s start with gasoline. It’s a flammable liquid that contains a variety of hydrocarbons in it. Some of the specific hydrocarbons you can find in gasoline include:

  • Aliphatic alkanes
  • Branched alkanes
  • Aliphatic cyclic compounds
  • Small aromatic compounds

Gasoline is derived from petroleum or crude oil. Specifically, it’s a byproduct that comes naturally from this nonrenewable resource. So, how do we get gasoline out of crude oil?

Through a process called fractional distillation. This is the process of bringing oil to the specific boiling points of different compounds found in it. When this happens the molecules in gasoline all collect at the same range.

It’s common to see gasoline manufacturers add compounds to their products. This is to improve the performance of the gasoline in internal combustion engines that are spark-ignited.

What Is Diesel?

Like gasoline, diesel is also a byproduct of the petroleum industry. However, unlike gasoline (which is a clear liquid) diesel is much more oil-like in appearance.

It’s also denser than gasoline and has a higher boiling point than water. This is because the hydrocarbon chains found in diesel are longer than in gasoline. Specifically, you can find the following compounds in diesel fuel:

  • Paraffin
  • Isoparaffins
  • Naphthenes
  • Olefins
  • Aromatic hydrocarbon

Unlike gasoline, diesel also has different grades for different uses. This usage is defined by the diesel Cetane number. The Cetane number determines how easily the fuel source ignites.

It’s important to remember that diesel fuel isn’t just used on diesel engines. It can also be used on a variety of other non-diesel engines.

Difference Between Diesel and Gasoline

We’ve covered some of the differences between diesel and gasoline. But, let’s get a little more specific. We’ll start with the volatility. Gasoline tends to be a lot more volatile than diesel fuel, which is one of the best benefits of gasoline.

That’s why you’ll usually see high-octane gas being used in speed racing. Next, there are the hydrocarbons present in both. The hydrocarbons in gas come with far fewer carbon atoms than diesel.

This also affects their molecular weight, which makes gas lighter overall (hence the light color and liquid density). In terms of price, gasoline tends to be more expensive than diesel.

Lastly, there’s the environmental factor. So, which one is better for the environment? While both pollute, it’s generally agreed that diesel is better for the environment.

That’s because it’s more efficient than gasoline. This is one of the main benefits of diesel. So, you get more use out of it before you need to fill it up again.

How to Tell Which One Belongs in Your Vehicle

If you’re driving a vehicle you’re unfamiliar with, you might be wondering whether it takes gasoline or diesel. In the past, you could usually tell by sound alone. Diesel engines tended to be a lot louder than gasoline engines.

However, these days diesel cars and trucks tend to be a lot quieter thanks to technological advances. So, what are some other ways you can find out? One way is to look under the hood.

Try to find the spark plugs on the vehicle. If it has spark plugs, then it runs on gas. That’s because diesel vehicles don’t require spark plugs. You can also try checking near the fuel cap.

Most of the time it will be labeled with what type of fuel you should put in. If there’s no label, then you can try checking the fuel filler’s neck. Diesel nozzles are much wider than gasoline ones.

What Happens If You Put the Wrong Fuel In Your Engine?

Putting the wrong fuel in either engine will cause a lot of damage. In gasoline engines, it will likely handle poorly before forcing a stop.

In diesel engines, it likely won’t combust. But, if it does then there will be a lot of black smoke.

Easiest Way to Get Fuel

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for gasoline or diesel, if you own vehicles that run on it, then you need it. So, what’s the easiest way to get it?

For personal use, gas stations tend to carry readily available gas and diesel (at increased prices these days). However, what if you need one of these fuel sources for another purpose, like powering a fleet of vehicles?

In these cases, a trip to the gas station won’t work. For these situations, we recommend delivery services like Rhino Fuel. Whether you need gasoline or diesel, they can help you out with quick delivery.

Appreciate Learning About Diesel and Gasoline? Keep Reading

We hope this article helped you learn about the difference between diesel and gasoline. As you can see, neither diesel nor gasoline is inherently better than the other.

They both have their pros and cons that come with them. However, depending on what you’ll be using your vehicle for there likely is a better choice for your needs.

So, make sure to do your research before proceeding. Enjoy learning more about this topic? Keep scrolling through our site to find tons of similar content that you’ll love to read.

Did you know that last year Americans used roughly 135 billion barrels of gasoline? Despite the prevalence of this fuel source, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the topic.

One beginner mistake is thinking that gasoline and diesel are the same things. So, what is the difference between diesel and gasoline?

If you want to learn the answer to this question, and more, then you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about these two important fuel sources. Let’s get started!

What Is Gasoline?

Before we go into the differences between these two fuel types, it’s important to go over some definitions. That way, we understand how these two things are fundamentally different from one another.

Let’s start with gasoline. It’s a flammable liquid that contains a variety of hydrocarbons in it. Some of the specific hydrocarbons you can find in gasoline include:

  • Aliphatic alkanes
  • Branched alkanes
  • Aliphatic cyclic compounds
  • Small aromatic compounds

Gasoline is derived from petroleum or crude oil. Specifically, it’s a byproduct that comes naturally from this nonrenewable resource. So, how do we get gasoline out of crude oil?

Through a process called fractional distillation. This is the process of bringing oil to the specific boiling points of different compounds found in it. When this happens the molecules in gasoline all collect at the same range.

It’s common to see gasoline manufacturers add compounds to their products. This is to improve the performance of the gasoline in internal combustion engines that are spark-ignited.

What Is Diesel?

Like gasoline, diesel is also a byproduct of the petroleum industry. However, unlike gasoline (which is a clear liquid) diesel is much more oil-like in appearance.

It’s also denser than gasoline and has a higher boiling point than water. This is because the hydrocarbon chains found in diesel are longer than in gasoline. Specifically, you can find the following compounds in diesel fuel:

  • Paraffin
  • Isoparaffins
  • Naphthenes
  • Olefins
  • Aromatic hydrocarbon

Unlike gasoline, diesel also has different grades for different uses. This usage is defined by the diesel Cetane number. The Cetane number determines how easily the fuel source ignites.

It’s important to remember that diesel fuel isn’t just used on diesel engines. It can also be used on a variety of other non-diesel engines.

Difference Between Diesel and Gasoline

We’ve covered some of the differences between diesel and gasoline. But, let’s get a little more specific. We’ll start with the volatility. Gasoline tends to be a lot more volatile than diesel fuel, which is one of the best benefits of gasoline.

That’s why you’ll usually see high-octane gas being used in speed racing. Next, there are the hydrocarbons present in both. The hydrocarbons in gas come with far fewer carbon atoms than diesel.

This also affects their molecular weight, which makes gas lighter overall (hence the light color and liquid density). In terms of price, gasoline tends to be more expensive than diesel.

Lastly, there’s the environmental factor. So, which one is better for the environment? While both pollute, it’s generally agreed that diesel is better for the environment.

That’s because it’s more efficient than gasoline. This is one of the main benefits of diesel. So, you get more use out of it before you need to fill it up again.

How to Tell Which One Belongs in Your Vehicle

If you’re driving a vehicle you’re unfamiliar with, you might be wondering whether it takes gasoline or diesel. In the past, you could usually tell by sound alone. Diesel engines tended to be a lot louder than gasoline engines.

However, these days diesel cars and trucks tend to be a lot quieter thanks to technological advances. So, what are some other ways you can find out? One way is to look under the hood.

Try to find the spark plugs on the vehicle. If it has spark plugs, then it runs on gas. That’s because diesel vehicles don’t require spark plugs. You can also try checking near the fuel cap.

Most of the time it will be labeled with what type of fuel you should put in. If there’s no label, then you can try checking the fuel filler’s neck. Diesel nozzles are much wider than gasoline ones.

What Happens If You Put the Wrong Fuel In Your Engine?

Putting the wrong fuel in either engine will cause a lot of damage. In gasoline engines, it will likely handle poorly before forcing a stop.

In diesel engines, it likely won’t combust. But, if it does then there will be a lot of black smoke.

Easiest Way to Get Fuel

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for gasoline or diesel, if you own vehicles that run on it, then you need it. So, what’s the easiest way to get it?

For personal use, gas stations tend to carry readily available gas and diesel (at increased prices these days). However, what if you need one of these fuel sources for another purpose, like powering a fleet of vehicles?

In these cases, a trip to the gas station won’t work. For these situations, we recommend delivery services like Rhino Fuel. Whether you need gasoline or diesel, they can help you out with quick delivery.

Appreciate Learning About Diesel and Gasoline? Keep Reading

We hope this article helped you learn about the difference between diesel and gasoline. As you can see, neither diesel nor gasoline is inherently better than the other.

They both have their pros and cons that come with them. However, depending on what you’ll be using your vehicle for there likely is a better choice for your needs.

So, make sure to do your research before proceeding. Enjoy learning more about this topic? Keep scrolling through our site to find tons of similar content that you’ll love to read.