What Is Diesel Fuel?

The differences between diesel, gasoline and heating oil

diesel fuel supplier maryland Ever since our founding in 1945, Q-Dog has been the most trusted fuel company in Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, southern Anne Arundel, and southern Prince George’s counties. We work with commercial customers to create customized diesel delivery plans, so they don’t need to line up at a service station.

Diesel is an incredibly versatile fuel with many uses on and off the road. Let’s break down exactly what diesel is, how it functions, and what makes it different from other fuels.

What is diesel, and how is it used?

Diesel is the standard term for distillate fuel oil used in compression ignition engines. Most diesel comes from crude oil, just like gasoline, though the two are not interchangeable. Some diesel also comes from renewable biomass.

Diesel is combustible but not flammable. You can’t ignite it by simply applying a flame or spark. It requires pressure and heat to ignite. There are essentially two kinds of diesel.

  • Off-road diesel is dyed red. Farming equipment, construction equipment and generators use it. It isn’t subject to the same taxes as road diesel, so you can receive a fine for using it in an on-road vehicle.
  • On-road diesel is undyed and sold at gas pumps. It’s subject to taxes that can often be quite high.

Chemically, on-road and off-road diesel are effectively the same product. All diesel sold in the U.S. today is low-sulfur. This originates from a 2006 Environmental Protection Agency regulation that reduced harmful emissions.

How is diesel different from gasoline?

To begin, diesel is denser than gasoline. It does not evaporate in open air like gas does. It also has a much longer shelf life than gasoline, which contains additives that separate and break down more quickly.

One of the most significant differences between diesel and gasoline is their performance in engines. Gasoline does not require the same amount of pressure to combust. Air and a spark in your car’s engine will do the trick. Conversely, diesel powers combustion engines, which apply heat and pressure to cause diesel to explode. Diesel combustion produces 10 to 20 percent more energy than gasoline combustion. Diesel engines last longer and have better mileage.

How is diesel different from heating oil?

Petroleum-based home heating oil and off-road diesel are essentially the same. An oil-fired heating system needs to heat this fuel and mix it with air as a fine spray to produce a flame. It’s worth noting that today’s heating oil is often a blend of low-sulfur petroleum and renewable biodiesel, which is better for the environment.

Q-Dog — Over 75 years of dependable diesel delivery

If you have a business, farm, worksite, vehicle fleet or municipal building that depends on diesel, we want to be your go-to fuel partner. We offer reliable on-site delivery from a team of the most professional, efficient drivers in the business. In every aspect of our fuel delivery, we guarantee promises kept.

Reach out to the Q-Dog team to start receiving high-quality diesel.