The internal combustion engine has been a truly revolutionary mechanical creation. Many engine designs have proven to be nearly perfect for mechanical efficiency and have been used for decades. The V8 and inline 6 are just two obvious examples. No matter what type of engine you might have, it requires fuel to run. More importantly, it requires the right fuel to run well. There are more possibilities for choosing the right fuel for your vehicle than many people realize. Here is a look at some of the types of fuel that you might consider.
Different Types of Fuel
Most people drive vehicles with motors that burn gasoline. The octane rating might vary, but gasoline is the type of fuel that most people must use in their vehicles to get the greatest efficiency and power from the engine. The vast majority of private passenger vehicles and many commercial vehicles require gasoline of varying octane ratings.
A diesel engine is similar to most gasoline-fueled engines, but it requires diesel fuel to run. If you are driving a big rig or a pickup with a heavy-duty hauling rating, it likely has a diesel engine. You can’t run diesel through a gasoline-fueled motor without it stalling and needing a lot of mechanical work to get running right once again. You also cannot run gasoline through a diesel motor for long without causing serious problems. So if you drive a diesel-fueled vehicle, you need to stay away from the gasoline pumps when filling up. Likewise, motorists with engines that require gasoline need to make sure they do not top off with diesel.
A third option is to use a mix of ethanol and gasoline. It still will not work in a diesel engine, but it can run in a vehicle that burns gasoline. Ethanol is potentially damaging to rubber seals, lines, and hoses inside engines. It also might cause one or more fuel injectors to go bad. Generally, a small amount of ethanol is perfectly fine for modern vehicles.
Octane Ratings and Engine Performance
Every vehicle owner should have a very good idea of what kind of fuel makes their engine run. Some still might have issues with octane rating and what they mean for engines. Most gasoline pumps offer three octane ratings that are usually 87-, 89-, and 91-octane. The higher the octane rating, the better the fuel. Some pumps also offer fuel with an 85-octane rating.
Motors with higher compression ratings typically require gasoline with higher octane ratings. If your vehicle is rated for 87-octane fuel, you can run 91-octane fuel through it. You also could run 87-octane fuel in a motor rated for 91-octane fuel, but you might experience spark knock, engine stumbling, and other performance effects. The higher the octane rating for the engine, the more important it is to use fuel with that octane rating.
Diesel Octane and Cetane Ratings
Diesel fuel has a relatively low octane rating. Most diesel fuel has an octane rating that could be anywhere from 25 to 40. That’s significantly lower than the minimum octane rating required to burn gasoline and make gasoline-fueled vehicles run.
The relatively low octane rating is a primary reason why you cannot make a gasoline engine run with diesel in the tank. It just doesn’t produce the power needed and will lead to engine failure.
Diesel fuel typically isn’t sold based on its octane rating like gasoline is. Instead, it has a cetane rating, which varies from 40 to 55. The higher the cetane rating, the better the quality of diesel fuel. A diesel engine will run on virtually any diesel fuel, but a higher cetane rating should give it a bit more power.
Diesel Engines and Heavy Hauling
Because diesel fuel produces about 30% more energy per gallon than gasoline, a diesel engine is preferred much more in medium and heavy trucks than in cars, vans, or SUVs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, nearly three-fourths of trucks with gross vehicle weights topping 10,000 pounds that were sold in the United States in 2013 have diesel engines. The greater energy produced by diesel fuel enables a truck with a diesel engine to haul more cargo and get better fuel economy than one that runs on gasoline.
Whether you need to upgrade your commercial truck, invest in diesel engine maintenance, or have a serious mechanical issue, we are Georgia’s best service provider. Call or contact us online to learn more. Associated Fuel Systems Inc. also is the only certified Stellar Products dealer in Atlanta and throughout Georgia.