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A Basic Guide to Diesel Fuel

With the diminishing supply and increasing demand for fuel supply, you must pick a cost-effective fuel that meets your needs. One such efficient and cost-effective option is diesel fuel. Diesel is famously known as the fuel for vehicles, such as machinery, trains, buses, boats, and trucks. Just like gasoline, diesel is also made from crude oil.

What is diesel fuel?

Also known as diesel oil, diesel fuel is a combustible liquid that is used in diesel engines. What makes diesel oil more cost and energy-efficient is that this fuel isn’t ignited by a spark as it is in gasoline engines. Instead, it is ignited by the heat of the compressed air in the cylinder. As a result, it releases more energy when it is combusted than an equal amount of gasoline; thus, it has a better fuel economy than gasoline.    

Moreover, producing diesel fuel requires fewer steps for refining than gasoline, so the retail prices of diesel are traditionally lower than gasoline. Of course, the price depends on the regulations, taxes, season, and location, but generally, gas is more expensive than diesel.

How to identify diesel 

It is easy to differentiate diesel from gasoline. Compared to gasoline, diesel is denser and oilier and has a unique smell. Plus, at fuel stations, diesel pumps are marked clearly. Also, containers for diesel fuel are yellow in color, while gasoline should be kept in red-colored containers. 

Grades of diesel 

Diesel is manufactured in several grades. There are light-middle as well as middle distillates for high-speed engines with wide and frequent variations in speed and load, such as automobiles and trucks. Meanwhile, heavy distillates are made for low and medium-speed engines that have sustained speeds and loads, such as stationary engines, ships, and trains.   

Diesel also differs based on different performance criteria. These include cetane number, sulfur content, and ease of volatilization.

Fuel regulations in Canada

Marine, locomotive, off-road, and on-road diesel sold in Canada must meet some legal requirements. All the variants must have a fixed sulfur concentration less than 15mg/kg. This is generally inline with the EPA. Low sulphur diesel has a number of benefits, which include:

  • It increases your engine‚Äôs life
  • It keeps the fuel injectors in great condition
  • It prevents the formation of deposits, ensuring that your engine always delivers the optimum performance¬†

Benefits of diesel

As mentioned earlier, diesel is more energy-efficient than both petrol and gasoline. The extra energy provided by each litre of diesel will help you travel further than a litre of petrol and gas. While the difference isn’t too great, it is still significant. 

Uses of diesel fuel 

Statistics show that In 2018, more than 180,000,000 liters of diesel was sold in Canada. In Manitoba alone, the demand for diesel was 4148 cubic meters/day. The greatest use is for transportation. In Canada, nearly 90% of the food and consumer products are transported by diesel trucks, which explains the great demand.  

Other uses of diesel include the following: 


Generally, most delivery and freight trucks, construction, farm, boats, trains, military vehicles, and both school and public buses are equipped with diesel engines. A few cars and small trucks also have diesel engines. As a fuel used in transportation, diesel offers safety, efficiency, and performance. 


Diesel is also used in generators for generating electricity, such as in remote villages. Industrial facilities, electric utilities, hospitals, institutional facilities, and large corporate offices also have diesel generators as an emergency and backup power supply.    Also a small amount of residential homes are using diesel powered generators as back-up.  

Farm and Construction 

Diesel powers most construction and farm equipment. The construction industry also needs diesel. Diesel engines make it possible to do demanding construction work like moving soil safely, paving roads, drilling wells, digging trenches and foundations, and lifting steel beams. 


Since diesel fuel is less explosive and less flammable than other fuels, the military uses it in trucks and tanks. Diesel engines also stall less than gas engines.  

Diesel fuel additives 

Diesel fuel can be improved by adding additives. They provide a number of benefits. These include:

  • They reduce the cost of repairs and the fuel consumption of the vehicle.¬†¬†
  • They improve the velocity and temperature at which the diesel burns, which, in turn, improves the engine performance and increases power capacity.¬†¬†
  • Diesel additives make vehicle maintenance easier by reducing wear and tear and preventing breakdowns.¬†
  • Diesel additives make sure the diesel doesn‚Äôt crystallize in winter, allowing you to drive in the cold and keeping your engine from being damaged due to waxy diesel.¬†¬†¬†
  • They also improve exhaust emissions as they reduce the carbon dioxide emitted from the exhaust. They can also reduce smoke emissions by getting rid of the excessive gunk buildup.

The different types of fuel additives include:

Corrosion inhibitors

Water present in the diesel is useful for stabilizing fuel temperature and condensation. However, the dissolved salt in the water can lead to crystallization, which can cause corrosion and rust. Corrosion inhibitors intercept the crystallized salt to prevent corrosion and rust.

Cetane boosters

Cetane boosters improve the combustion of fuel by reducing the time in ignition delay. With more cetane boost, the efficiency of the diesel engine increases. In addition to that, cetane boosters reduce smoke emissions and deposits and slow down fuel consumption without compromising on the quality. 

Fuel stabilizers

The quality of diesel tends to diminish with time after the storage and refinement process, before it is consumed. This could be because of degradation or oxidation. However, fuel stabilizers can help to maintain the diesel’s quality and prevent breakdown, degradation, and oxidation.

Fuel injector detergents

Since diesel is an organic substance, it can also accumulate deposits, such as yields, molds, and bacteria. Fuel injector detergents can help to clean unwanted dirt blocking the engine parts that are exposed to diesel. As a result, hard start and acceleration also improve.

Anti-gel additives 

While living in cold areas, gel formation and accumulated wax in the diesel can block the diesel fuel filter. However, anti-gel additives can prevent the diesel’s viscous effect during the cold weather, thus improving the cold-starting performance. They can also unblock diesel fuel filters.¬†¬†¬†


Given the better performance and efficiency of diesel, it is used for many industrial applications, such as in military vehicles, power generation, and heavy-duty vehicles. Their performance can be further improved by adding diesel fuel additives, such as fuel stabilizers and anti-gel additives.  


Bird Fuels delivers propane, furnace oil, clear diesel, dyed diesel, DEF & lubricants to commercial and residential customers from Collingwood, Orangeville & Owen Sound. Contact us today for all your fuel delivery needs.

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