What Are the Properties of Diesel Fuel?


Quick Answer

Some key properties of diesel fuel are that it is denser, less flammable and more stable than gasoline. This means that diesel fuel needs heavier compression and higher temperatures than gas does to burn.

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Full Answer

Diesel, gasoline and jet fuel are all refined from crude oil. Of the three, diesel is the heaviest and densest. Because it is denser, diesel fuel has greater energy by volume than gasoline does. This means that it is slower burning than gasoline and that diesel vehicles get more miles per gallon than those powered by gasoline.

Since diesel is less flammable than gasoline, it requires a different ignition system than that found in gasoline-powered vehicles. While gasoline engines ignite using spark plugs, diesel engines use a fuel injection system that works with a high-pressure compression chamber.

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