8 Fuel Types For Cars

What is Car Fuel? What does an Engine Need? What are the Four Strokes? How many Types of Car Fuels are there? What is Gas Oil? How does Misfuelling affect the Car?
fuel types for cars

With the invention of cars in 1986, the engines used in them developed over time. Various technologies were used to run vehicles in old times. But with the advancement of time and the development of cars and engines, there are now different fuel types for cars available. Automotive gas oil is one such fuel You will know about the fuel type of cars in detail as you continue reading the article.

What is Car Fuel?

Back to back fuel stations on a gas station: fuel types for cars 1

  • The term fuel is broader than you think because it involves all the substances that are used to run machinery or generate power. It includes coal, petrol, and oil that is burned to produce heat energy or give power to machinery.
  • Gottlieb Daimler, a German engineer, industrialist, and industrial designer, invented the prototype of the modern gasoline in 1885. He also invented the high-speed engine which was fueled by liquid petroleum.
  • A motor car fuel is used to provide power to the engine of the vehicle. Cars also run on other sources of energy like electric batteries, biodiesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), hydrogen, propane, and ethanol. (Also read What is an Oil Change?)

How Fuel is important for the Engine?

An engine: fuel types for cars 2

There are different categories of cars and their engines are designed on this basis. The performance of the engine depends on the type of fuel you are putting into it. Good quality fuel will keep your engine healthy, so you will be able to enjoy a smooth ride for longer periods. But low-quality fuel or wrong fuel would damage the engine. The fuel mileage will also be decreased along with the engine power. (Also read How to Change Transmission Fluid and Filter?)

How do Modern Day Engines work?

Modern engines generate power through internal combustion by using different fuel types for cars. The air-fuel mixture inside the cylinders of the engine ignites it to generate the power for starting the engine. This entire process of starting the engine is known as the combustion cycle and this process is repeated various times to keep the car engine in power. (See How the invention of cars affected the economy?)

What are Four Strokes?

The combustion cycle has four strokes. Therefore, modern engines are known as four-stroke engines. The four strokes are intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust. (See All Battery Sizes with Pictures)

What are the Fuel types for Cars?

The type of fuel a car uses depends upon the type of engine it has. There are 7 types of fuels that are used to run various cars, as mentioned below.

  • Biodiesel,
  • Compressed Natural Gas (CNG),
  • Diesel,
  • Ethanol,
  • Gasoline,
  • Hydrogen,
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG),
  • Automotive Gas Oil (AGO)

1. Biodiesel


It is different from diesel because it is a renewable resource, but it is used as a fuel for compression-ignition engines. It is a type of biodegradable fuel that is prepared from animal fats, vegetable or cooking oil, rapeseed, and recycled restaurant grease. It is known as renewable diesel or green diesel because carbon emissions from this fuel are almost nil. In its pure form, it is called neat biodiesel or B100. (See 13 Different Types of Compasses)

2. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)

CNG stations

This fuel, among the fuel types for cars, is used in vehicles with CNG-run combustion engines only. It is non-corrosive, odorless (no smell), and remains clear. It is a good substitute for petrol and diesel because it releases 80% less harmful gases into the environment. It is cheaper and more effective than other fuels and the engines also produce minimum sounds.  The CNG fuel system is a sealed set-up, which means you do not have to worry about spills or leakages.  (See What Happens When You Mix Bleach and Ammonia?)

3. Diesel

A diesel generator.

It is obtained as a product of the distillation process of crude oil. Cars and domestic vehicles are rarely generated with a diesel-friendly engine but large transportation vehicles like trucks, buses, boats, military vehicles, and other heavy engines are diesel friendly. There are also diesel engine generators because these generators can be used to supply power to a large area for longer durations. But it is not environmentally friendly and produces a strong smell and heavy smoke emissions. (See What Is The Meaning Of OD Off?)

4. Ethanol


It is also a bio-friendly fuel that is made from biomass (plant materials) and thus it reduces air pollution to a large extent. It is also a clear, colorless, and odorless fuel. It is known as ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, or EtOH. The octane level of ethanol is higher than gasoline and the energy content is less than gasoline (petrol). Among the fuel types for cars, energy supplied from ethanol depends on its ratio in the gasoline-ethanol blend. (See How many Gallons of Gas in a Barrel of Oil?)

5. Gasoline or Petrol

A person filling fuel in a sports car.

It is the most consumed non-renewable fossil fuel source which produces air pollution on a large scale. Generally, gasoline needs to be blended with other liquids to become the motor gasoline that is used in vehicles. It is graded as regular, mid-grade, and premium. The quality and characteristics of gasoline depend upon the crude oil, blended liquids, and the process in refineries. (See How Is Gasoline Made From Oil?)

6. Hydrogen

Hydrogen Fuel: fuel types for cars 5

It is produced from the electrolysis of water or methane. It is an odorless, colorless gas with the lowest density of all types of gases. This is the new gas in the market which is considered to be cleaner than other fuels. It is used to power general electrical vehicles. If your vehicle is powered by hydrogen, then you will not have to charge your electric bike because refilling the hydrogen fuel will produce electricity.

There is no smoke emission because it produces water instead of smoke. It is uncommon in many countries, but it is considered the fuel of the future. (Also read How can you differentiate between the gas and the brake pedal?)

7. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

Truck loaded with cylingers of LPG.

It is a non-renewable source that is produced from crude oil and natural gas. The energy content is similar to gasoline (petrol) and it is more expensive than natural gas. Among the fuel types for cars, it is used as cooking gas, heating, and a good vehicle fuel also. It is stored in liquid form in the cylinder tank or steel container. Mostly, large vehicles have LPG-powered engines. (See Is NH3 polar or nonpolar?)

8. Automotive Gas Oil (AGO)

AGO: fuel types for car 3

It is a type of rebated fuel that is used for heating purposes, vehicle fuels, and heavy machinery like construction and agricultural machines. It is cheaper than diesel but cannot be commonly used in public vehicles.

You can identify the difference between gas oil and normal diesel fuel by looking for the red dye that is added to the fuel, and it has the virtual observatory SED analyzer (VOSA) identity. Red diesel, heating oil, 35 seconds, and cherry are a few names given to this oil. (See How Does A Remote Control Work?)

What is Misfuelling?

The act of filling up your car tank with the wrong fuel is known as misfuelling. For example, you fill in diesel instead of petrol in your car tank or the opposite of this. Even though both of them are car fuels, they both have different densities and power with which they ignite the engine. It is necessary to avoid any such mistakes because they can damage the engine and exhaust system. 

So, these were the fuel types for cars along with automotive gas oil. Which fuel car do you prefer? You can share this information with your group to encourage them to use environmentally-friendly fuel. (See How to Achieve Zero Gravity?)

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