Can You Name 11 Kinds Of Fuel?

If you’ve been part of the petroleum industry for many years, you might marvel at the increasing diversity and selection of products available for industrial, retail, and commercial use. Drivers who transport these products require extensive specialized safety training and diligence.

Among other safety factors, fuel is highly combustible and/or flammable. What are the differences between flammable and combustible products? Simply put, combustible materials include anything that will burn, like wood or paper. Flammable products are a subcategory of combustible materials because they easily catch fire with a minimal ignition source. Just one spark is enough.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to move different types of fuel? Here’s a brief list of common fuel types, their common uses, and notable specifications associated with transportation and storage:

  1. Liquid asphalt – As a refined crude oil product, liquid asphalt requires insulated heavy oil tanks for transportation from a refinery to a storage facility. It’s mixed with stone to create “black top” or asphalt for paved roads.

  2. No. 4 and No. 6 oils – Traditionally used to heat homes and known as “bunker oil”, these types of fuel require transportation in insulated heavy oil tanks at an elevated temperature of 110 Fahrenheit. Today, these types of fuel are popular in industrial applications such as manufacturing and paper mills where they are used to generate steam power.

  3. Gasoline – As the most refined form of crude oil, gasoline is highly flammable and yields 6.1 – 6.2 pounds per gallon. It’s typically transported in light oil tanks in quantities of up to 12 200 gallons per load.

  4. Diesel fuel – Transported in light oil tanks up to 10 500 gallons per load, diesel has a greater density, making it heavier than gasoline. It has a similar weight to number 2 fuel oil, yielding 7.1 pounds per gallon.

  5. Fuel oil – As the heaviest distillate, fuel oil yields 7.1 - 7.2 pounds per gallon. Fuel oil is combustible rather than flammable; it needs to be fired through a combustion chamber. Popular with homes and businesses as furnace fuel, No. 2 fuel oil typically travels from a refinery or loading terminal to a bulk plant where it is transported to a home delivery truck.

  6. Kerosene – Transported in light oil tanks, kerosene is commonly used for portable stoves and outdoor fuel tanks, since it won’t thicken or “gel” in low temperatures like diesel fuel. Home delivery trucks typically deliver kerosene from a bulk plant to residential customers.

  7. Jet fuel – Used primarily for airplanes, jet fuel is a flammable, higher refined kerosene product transported from a terminal or refinery to an airport or airbase. Like automobile gasoline, different grades of jet fuel like JP8 and Jet A contain different additives and components associated with standards developed from the American Petroleum Institute (API).

  8. Ethanol – Commonly derived from corn, ethanol fuel requires transportation in government-certified MC 306 or 406 cargo tanks. Highly flammable ethanol may be transported up to 11 000 gallons per load and many states require that a 10% blend of ethanol be used in every gallon of gas sold.

  9. Biofuels – Typically transported in stainless steel tanks to minimize oxidization, biofuels derive from soybean, corn, or other plant and animal sources. Some states mandate a 5% mix of biofuels be included in retail products like diesel, fuel oil, and No. 6 oil.

  10. Propane – Transported in compressed cargo MC 331 or 431 tanks, propane is a compressed gas typically derived from underground natural gas sources. For example, raw propane comes from the rock-drilling extraction or “fracking” process used to refine natural gas. Propane costs more than natural gas since it requires more refining. It’s also one of the most popular fuels used by residential consumers.

  11. Butane – Famous for its use as lighter fluid, butane is similar to propane and transported in compressed cargo MC 331 or 431 tanks. Butane is a low-level, flammable liquid. Like propane, butane will go from a gas to a liquid state under 10 – 20 pounds of pressure. It blends with gasoline and it’s a key component of gasoline used in winter weather. However, although it costs less per gallon than gasoline, cars can’t run on butane alone.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of every fuel out there but now you have an idea of the range of products that large distributors can transport safely and professionally. When you stop to think about it, the variety of fuel oils we use today is pretty impressive.