Difference between petrol and diesel

Most vehicles today use gasoline also called petrol or diesel as fuel. Both are burned in the motor of the car to give the power to it and to be able to function. In this sense, many people are unaware of the differences between these two fuels. Therefore, in this article we will present the differences that exist between both starting from their definitions.


Diesel or diesel fuel is a product obtained from the distillation and purification of crude oil. This fuel is used in diesel engines, which bear that name because of the fuel they use.

The word diesel, is derived from the name of the German inventor Rudolf Diesel who in 1892 invented the diesel engine. This oil-derived compound contains about 75% saturated hydrocarbons including isoparaffins and cycloparaffins and 25% aromatic hydrocarbons including naphthalenes and alkalobenzenes.

On the other hand, because diesel is relatively easier to refine, since it is obtained from fractional distillation of oil, its price is usually lower than gasoline. There are different types of diesel or diesel, among them are mentioned:

  • Premium Diesel or Diesel A (normally used for automobiles).
  • Boned Diesel or B diesel (used for agricultural and industrial uses)
  • Custom diesel or C diesel (used for domestic heating).



Gasoline (petrol) is a hydrocarbon compound and is presented as a flammable and volatile liquid that serves the fuel function. This is obtained from the fractional distillation of petroleum and has many uses, although its main use is as fuel (fuel) for vehicles and machinery. There are different types of commercial petrol that are classified according to their number of octane, that is to say, the number of octane (a class of hydrocarbon that has 8 carbon atoms) that owns the fuel. For this reason, you can find 90 octane, 91 octane, 95 or 97 octane gasoline.

On the other hand, from the 1920s, due to the high demand for gasoline engines, compounds were added to increase their lead octane (leaded gasoline). Since the 1970s, due to the negative effects of lead on petrol for health and the environment, laws were imposed in order to gradually reduce the use of lead additives in gasoline and companies were obliged to start to produce high octane unleaded gasolines.

As can be seen, there are several differences between diesel and petrol(gasoline) which are detailed below:

  • Diesel is obtained from the petroleum fraction having hydrocarbons of 15 to 18 carbon atoms while the gasoline is obtained from the petroleum fraction having hydrocarbons of 5 to 12 carbon atoms.
  • Diesel has a density of 850 g / l while gasoline has a density of 680 g / l.
  • Diesel is usually cheaper than gasoline, because it is relatively easier to distill.
  • Diesel has an ignition point of 52 ° C while gasoline has an ignition point of 280 ° C.
  • Diesel give off more CO2 emissions than gasoline(petrol). Diesel fuel produces approximately 13% more CO2 gas per gallon of fuel burned, compared to gas (petrol) engines.

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