What Are the Different Types of Fuel That Exist Today?
If you aren’t yet ready to switch to electric vehicles or upgrade to renewable infrastructure, you’re not alone. 79% of our energy consumption still comes from fossil fuels, and certain jobs won’t be ready to transition any time soon.
Essentially, that means that we should still expect to use different types of fuel in the coming decades. With fuel prices at unprecedented highs, finding affordable fuel can save a lot of money, especially for larger industries. Here’s what you need to know about the different types of fuel to choose from!
Gasoline is the most commonly used fuel type for passenger vehicles and small appliances such as lawnmowers or snowblowers. We burn over 138 billion gallons of gasoline every year in the US alone. Gasoline is made of refined petroleum and it’s extremely flammable, making it a perfect fuel for combustion engines.
To create gasoline, crude petroleum oil is heated by a furnace and then sent to a distillation tower. There, it is separated by boiling point and using high amounts of pressure (or a catalyst) to convert it into its finished products including fuels like gasoline and diesel. This process can also yield specialty solvents and asphalt as byproducts.
Regular vs. Premium
These aren’t different fuels entirely. When you see regular and premium, they are still gasoline. The only difference is in the octane rating.
Premium gas uses high octanes of 91 to 94, whereas regular gasoline car fuel uses 87. The 88 to 90 range is considered mid-grade gasoline.
Moreover, the only functional difference is in performance. There is no difference in fuel efficiency, carbon emissions, or anything else. High-octane fuels only tend to be more powerful.
Still, we don’t recommend using these gas types unless your vehicle or engine recommends them. If your car is designed for regular gas, use regular gas.
Aviation gasoline, more commonly known as Avgas, is a special type of oil produced from small portions of petroleum. Engines that use Avgas are aircraft vehicles with internal combustion system engine types, meaning it has a piston engine with an ignition system.
Diesel is a much less-flammable fossil fuel than gasoline. It is also derived from petroleum, much like gasoline, but it’s refined using a different method.
Typically used for larger equipment including heavy machinery, large farm equipment, and heavy trucks, diesel is a far more powerful fuel than gasoline. There are two types of diesel fuel, one that’s used for large equipment and one that’s used for off-road vehicles like snowmobiles and ATVs. We’ll primarily stick to the former, as it’s far more common.
However, diesel cars have become more popular in recent years. Volkswagen is the most popular vehicle manufacturer to use diesel in their passenger cars, including the Jetta sedan. Many of these smaller diesel cars can get over 50 mpg, making them more environmentally friendly than gasoline-powered cars.
Ethanol is more commonly used as a fuel additive to gasoline, but it is a fuel on its own. While it is a relatively efficient fuel, only a few car models can run entirely on ethanol (but they do exist).
Moreover, ethanol is derived from organic resources like corn, sugar, and other natural products. However, pure ethanol is difficult to find at fuel stations, so it’s not commonly used as a primary fuel source.
Kerosene is a colorless product of refining crude oil. It has a boiling point of 150C to 300C and it’s typically used for residential heating and small appliances. While it has fallen in popularity in recent decades, it’s still widely used for smaller jobs.
Diesel fuel made from oils, fats, and similar plant or animal products is known as biofuel. You can make it using soybean oil, lard, algae, and vegetable oils.
However, this is far less common than standard gas or diesel fuels. You should never use biofuel in a system designed for petroleum-based fuels.
6. Fuel Oil
Most commonly used for heating your home, fuel oil is a black oil substance with a higher viscosity than diesel. It’s generally used for direct combustion in large machines, power steam engines, or fueling a heating system.
Keep in mind, this is completely different from the oil you use in your car. This is a fuel oil, whereas you use lubricating motor oil to protect the interior of your engine, rather than for direct combustion.
Which Types of Fuel Are Best?
Some fuel types are optimal for different purposes, and some may make more sense for certain jobs. While you can’t put fuel oil into a gasoline engine, understanding the differences between these fuel types can help you choose the right systems for your needs.
Especially with fuel prices as high as they are, you don’t want to overspend if you don’t have to. All of the fuel types mentioned above have fallen victim to skyrocketing prices in the last two years. These costs can add up if you’re managing a large fleet, large equipment, or heating a large home.
Fortunately, buying in bulk can make a world of difference, especially with the right fuel delivery company. Choosing the right system and fuel delivery service can save you thousands of dollars each year, depending on the job!
Keep It Running
Now that you know the different types of fuel that we use in our everyday lives, you’ll hopefully have a better understanding of the machines we take for granted. Remember to always use the required fuels in every machine and choose what makes the most financial sense.
Choose what works best for your needs and keep reading our blog for our latest financial and lifestyle tips!