Diesel fuel is a common product that is used in a wide range of applications, including commercial transport, construction, and agriculture. Although so many people use it, many still have questions about how it is made and how it can be used. The following are five of the most frequently asked questions about diesel fuel.
1. How is diesel fuel made?
Diesel is created from crude oil, which is pumped out of the ground and is composed of thousands of hydrocarbons of a broad variety. Each of these hydrocarbons is linked in chains of different length, size, and shape. Each “chain” has different properties that allow engineers to separate them through distillation or by boiling point to create multiple products.
Distillation is the first major process at a refinery. When you heat crude, the various hydrocarbons begin to separate based on their molecular structure (chain). The lighter hydrocarbons, like ethane and propane, float to the top. The next component to separate is called naphtha, which is used to make gasoline. During this process, heavier hydrocarbons stay at the bottom and are used to make diesel fuel. This gives it a higher carbon content than gasoline.
Distillation alone will not make enough gasoline or diesel. Additional procedures like thermal and catalytic cracking break down the hydrocarbons into usable forms and create higher volumes of both types of fuel.
Another issue that is confronted when making this product is sulfur content. To reduce the sulfur content, refineries engage in a process called hydrotreatment. This involves taking crude oil and mixing it with hydrogen and extreme pressures to reduce. A variety of components are later added to meet the required diesel fuel specifications.
2. What is the difference between diesel fuel and gasoline?
Diesel and gasoline differ in a few critical ways. Diesel fuel is “heavier” and “oilier” than gasoline. Therefore, it evaporates more slowly. This type also has a higher boiling point than gasoline, usually 150 to 370 degrees Celsius. This fuel is more efficient than gasoline because it produces more power.
3: What are diesel fuel’s classifications?
This type of fuel has two main classifications. The first is seasonal fuel, which is either Type B or Number 2, and is the most common type. The second is called light diesel, which is either Type A or Number 1. This fuel is intended for special applications like high speed diesel engines and as heating oil. More recent classifications break down this product based on sulfur content as either ultra-low, low, or regular content.
4: What is the ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and what is it used for?
Ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel (or “ULSD”) refers to diesel that contains less than 15 parts per million of sulfur. ULSD is used for both on-road and off-road applications. In fact, since 2006, The EPA has released strict standards to reduce the amount of sulfur in this product, resulting in more use of this fuel. This has helped to reduce harmful emissions.
5: What is regular sulfur diesel fuel and what is it used for?
Regular sulfur diesel fuel (RSD) refers to diesel that is used exclusively for off-road applications, like marine, rail, construction, and agriculture. Since Oct. 1, 2010, RSD must have less than 500 parts per million (0.05 wt %) of sulfur.
At Kendrick Oil, we distribute a wide variety of wholesale fuels, including many types of diesel, gasoline, and heating oils. We have locations in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Louisiana. If you would like to schedule a fuel delivery or learn more about our Products and Services, give us a call at (806) 250-3991. You can also Contact Us by email for more information.